Skip to main content

Full text of "Narrative of the life of James Allen, alias George Walton, alias Jonas Pierce, alias James H. York, alias Burley Grove, the highwayman : being his death-bed confession, to the warden of the Massachusetts state prison"

See other formats

Boston  Medical  Library 
in  the  Francis  A.Countv/ay 
Library  of  Medicine -Boston 

Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2010  with  funding  from 

Open  Knowledge  Commons  and  Harvard  Medical  School 















^  I  :^^,  /O  A 

E:<TERF,D  aceoiiling  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord,  one  thousand, 
eight  hundred  and  thirty-seven,  by  Harkincton  &.  Co.,  in  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the 
District  Court  of  Massachusetts. 


I  WAS  born  in  the  town  of  Lancaster,  Worcester  County,  and  State 
of  Massachusetts,  on  the  IGlh  of  November,  1809.  My  parents  were 
in  indigent  circumstances;  and  it  was  my  misfortinie  to  lose  my  moth- 
er, by  death,  when  I  was  three  years  of  age.  Shortly  after  her  death, 
my  father  removed  to  Clarendon,  Vt,  and  left  me  in  the  care  of  my 
grand-parent,  with  whom  I  resided  until  their  death.  I  have  never 
seen  my  Father  since  he  left  Lancaster  for  Vermont,  and  do  not  know 
whether  he  is  living  or  not.  After  the  death  of  my  grand-parent,  I 
lived  with  several  dilferent  persons  in  Lancaster,  and  was  employed 
at  farming  in  summer,  and  attended  school  during  the  winter  months, 
I  was  naturally  hasty  in  my  temper,  active  and  ambiiious,  and  inclined 
to  have  my  own  way  in  most  respects.  At  eleven  or  twelve  years  of 
age,  I  lived  with  Capt  E.  Carter,  a  blustering  and  intemperate  man:  he 
treated  me  well  when  he  was  sober,  but  was  fond  of  being  late  atthe 
tavern  and  usually  called  me  up  to  let  him  in  when  he  returned  home. 
Not  liking  the  place  I  ran  awiy  from  Mr  Carter's,  after  being  with 
him  about  three  years,  1  went  to  Chester,  Vermont,  a  dull  place,  and 
after  remaining  there  a  few  months,  returned  to  I^ancaster  again. — 
On  being  paid  for  my  services,!  received  two  counterfeit  five  dollar  bank 
bills,  which  was  nearly  one  half  the  whole  sum  due  me.  Whether 
the  bills  were  put  upon  me  intentionally  or  not,  it  was  a  serious  mis- 
fortune to  me  at  the  time,  and  tended  to  sour  my  njind  and  cause  dis- 
trust of  the  honesty  of  my  fellow  men.  After  this,  I  was  employed  by 
a  man  in  Lancaster  at  the  rate  of  twenty  five  cents  per  day.  On  set- 
ling  at  the  termination  of  the  month,  he  paid  me  all  into  one  dollar, 
which  sum  I  never  afterwards  received.  Another  afiair  which  under 
my  straitened  circumstance,  was  not  much  calculated  to  soothe  my 
already  irritated  feelings. 

In  June  1824, 1  went  to  Charlestown,  Mass,  and  obtained  a  situation 
with  a  person  who  was  employed  in  ship  building.  It  was  my  inten- 
tion to  have  learned  the  trade;  but  the  weather  being  very  warm,  and 
as  I  vv^as  almost  constantly  subjected  to  a  severe  headache,  1  gave  up 
all  hopes  of  succeeding  at  that  employment  and  left  it  in  the  course  of 
a  month.  While  at  the  ship  yard,  I  was  often  sent  into  the  front  yard 
of  the  State  Prison  for  water.  Little  did  I  think,  at  that  time  of  being 
confined  a  prisoner  witiiin  its  dreary  walls.     On  leaving  the  sliij)  yard 


4  LIFE    OF    WALTON, 

1  made  several  aUempts  to  obtain  employment  in  the  Merchant  Service, 
as  a  Seaman,  but  was  in  every  ease  abruptly  refused  by  the  owners; 
I  finally  succeeded  in  getting  employment  on  board  a  market  fishing 
schooner,  under  Capt  J,  Smith,  a  pretty  clever  sort  of  a  man,  when  no(- 
under  the  influence  of  ardent  spirits,  of  which  article  he  kept  a  full 
supply  on  hand  and  was  not  often  outdone  by  any  of  the  crew  in  the 
use  of  it.  According  to  my  usual  practice,  [  drank  but  little.  Capt 
Smith  was  committed  to  jail  for  debt,  and  did  not  nor  has  he  since 
paid  the  full  amount  of  the  wages  due  me  for  services  on  board  his 
vessel.  Two  or  three  days  after  leaving  the  vessel,  1  was  requested 
by  a  man, a  stranger  to  me,  to  assist  him  in  carrying  a  trunk,  which  I 
presumed  was  his  own  property,  to  a  house  in  Southack  street,  Boston. 
On  noticing  the  man  more  closely  I  observed  he  looked  rather 
suspicious  and  appeared  to  be  acting  with  more  than  usual  caution, 
which  led  me  to  apprehend  that  all  was  not  right  with  respect  to  the 
trunk.  I  learned  afterwards,  that  the  man  was  Slepiien  Symms, 
an  old  State  Prison  convict,  who  was  subsequently  committed  to  the 
Prison  for  the  third  time  at  which  place  he  died  of  consumption, — • 
Symms  gave  me  ten  dollars,  for  assisting  him.  This  was  the  first 
proceeding  in  which  I  ever  had  any  thing  to  do  with  stolen  property, 
and  was  the  precursor  of  my  future  destiny. 

Symms  enquired  where  I  boarded  and  offered  to  give  me  money  any 
time  if  I  would  call  upon  him.  He  kept  a  house  for  the  accommodation  of 
females  of  ill  fame  who  urged  me  to  come  there,  but  being  young  and 
having  no  partiality  for  such  company,!  declined  accepting  the  invitation. 
About  a  week  after  the  circumstance  of  the  trunk,Symms  called  at  my 
boarding  house,  and  in  conversation  remarked  thai  he  knew  of  an 
opportunity,  which  if  improved  would  lead  to  securing  a  fortune.  We 
proceeded  together  to  his  residence,  when  he  unfolded  to  me  his  place 
of  operation,  which  was  to  break  a  store  at  the  corner  of  Charles  and 
Beacon  streets  and  obtain  possession  of  a  large  quantity  of  specie  and 
bank  bills  which  he  thought  was  left  in  the  store  by  the  occupant. 
After  considerable  conversation,  I  concluded  to  make  the  attempt  and 
between  eleven  and  twelve  o'clock  of  that  night  we  proceeded  to  the 
store,  which  I  succeeded,by  means  of  a  ladder,  in  entering  at  one  of  the 
windows,  in  the  second  story.  Symms  remained  outside  for  the  pur- 
of  removing  the  ladder  to  prevent  suspicion  if  any  one  should  happen 
to  pass  that  way  while  I  was  in  the  store.  I  carried  with  me  a  small 
pocket  lantern,  and  steel,  and  tinder,&c.  We  presumed  there  was  two 
or  three  thousand  dollars  in  money  in  the  store,  which  however  we 
never  found,  if  there.  I  broke  the  desk,  found  some  silver  and  copper 
coin  and  found  a  bag,  which  contained  sixty  dollars  in  silver,  which, 
together  with  a  box,  I  handed  out  to  Symms,  after  which  we  returned 
to  his  residence.  We  divided  the.  spoil  and  I  received  thirty  dollars, 
for  my  services.  This  was  the  first  time  in  my  life,  that  I  ever  was 
concerned  in  breaking  into  a  building  or  was  guilty  of  stealing  pro- 
perty, except  in  a  few  instances  of  taking  fruit  or  some  such  trifling 


In  the  course  of  six  or  seven  days,  after  breaking  into  the  store  in 
Charles  street,  I  came  to  the  town  (Charlestown),  and  while  in  the 
ceUar  kept  by  Jones  &  Sawyer,  I  tliink,  1  observed  one  of  the  firm 
lake  money  from  a  pocket  book  whicli  appeared  to  contain  a  large  a- 
mount  in  bank  bills,  Thinking,as  I  had  committed  one  crime,I  might 
as  well  go  on  in  that  way,  and  get  money  more  readily  than  by  labor, 
I  broke  into  the  cellar  that  night,  but  found  that  the  occupants  had 
taken  the  precaution  to  carry  the  pocket  book  home  with  them,  and 
therefore  1  got  nothing.  I  told  Symms  what  I  had  been  doing,  and 
he  discouraged  me  from  any  further  attempts  on  cellars,  by  remarking 
that  the  occupants  generally  took  good  care  of  their  money,  be- 
fore locking  up  at  night — a  wise  precaution,  and  which,  if  practised 
hy  every  one  in  business,  would  leave  but  little  prospect  of  success  for 
those  who  wish  to  live  by  their  wits,  instead  of  honest  industry. 
Symms  informed  me  how  to  proceed  in  future  to  ensure  success. 

I  again  visited  Charlestown — stole  a  bundle  of  cloth  from  on  board 
a  fishing  vessel — was  pm-sued,  arrested  and  sentenced  to  six  months 
iinprisonnient  in  the  county  jail  at  East  Cambridge.  This  was  in 
October,  1824,  and  was  the  first  time  I  was  ever  held  in  confinement. 
1  was  then  about  fifteen  years  of  age,  and  the  idea  of  being  in  prison, 
•operated  very  painfully  upon  my  feelings.  I  verily  believe  that  if  I 
'had  been  discharged  after  the  first  week  of  confinement,!  should  have 
been  honest  and  steady  ever  after.  In  a  short  time,  however.  Jail 
scenes  and  the  society  of  the  depraved  and  vicious  became  familiar, 
and  I  lost,  in  a  good  dogree,  the  tender  feelings  v/hich  influenced  me 
on  being  first  committed.  There  was  so  much  mirth  among  those  in 
confinement,  that  I  soon  became  quite  contented  in  my  situation. 
Shortly  after  I  was  committed,  I  was  removed  to  a  room  in  which  was 
confined  a  man  by  the  name  of  Purchase,  charged  with  burning  his 
grand-mother  and  causing  her  death.  We  concerted  a  plan  for  efiTect- 
ing  our  escape: — Wm  J.  Young,  a  convict  recently  discharged  from 
this  prison,  was  also  one  of  the  party.  The  attempt  was  made,  but 
proved  unsuccessful.  On  being  discovered  we  were  separated.  As  I 
was  young  and  of  small  stature,  the  Jail- keeper  did  not  suspect  me  of 
being  much  interested  or  concerned.  The  truth  was,  however,  that  1 
performed  nearly  all  (he  work  in  the  affair. 

In  the  cell  to  which  I  was  removed  was  George  Munroe  and  Samu- 
el Williams;  and  in  the  cell  opposite  to  the  door  of  ours,  was  old  Wil- 
lard:  the  latter,  an  old  State  Prison  convict,  and  the  two  former  have 
also  been  confined  here.  They  were  almast  constantly  talking  over 
their  scrapes  and  boasting  of  the  success  they  had  met  with  in  the  acts 
of  villany  in  which  they  had  been  frequently  engaged.  Their  state- 
ments I  presumed  were  true,  and  of  course  received  them  with  all  the 
credulity  common  to  youth. 

On  the  16th  of  April,  1825,  my  sentence  expired,  and  I  w^as  ac- 
cordingly discharged  from  Jail.  Destitute  ofg^money,  and  having  no  one 
near  to  assist  me,  I  went  to  Boston,  and  bent  ray  course  towards  the- 
house  of  my  old  acquaintance,  Symms.  He  loaned  me  five  dollars.. 
On  the  following  Monday,  which  was  the  second  day   after  my  dis- 

6  Llh'E    OF    WALTOX; 

charge,  I  came  to  Clmilestown,  and  in  tlie  niglit,  lime,  broke  llie  store 
kept,  I  think,  by  BriLlge  &.  Orne,  near  the  old  bridge,  but  obtained  on- 
ly about  one  dollar  in  change.  The  next  night  I  broke  a  grocery  store 
near  the  head  of  Russia  \vharf,kcpt  by  Colburn.  and  obtained  but  about 
fifty  cents  in  change;  took  nothing  bat  coin  from  either  place,  except  u 
glas^  of  wine.  Same  night  broke  the  store  ofDeblois  &  Tremlet,  I 
think — entered  the  compting  room  and  found  a  heavy  roll  containing 
about  one  hundred  dollars  in  doubloons  and  Spanish  gold.  Next  morn- 
ing I  exchanged  them  for  other  money.  With  a  portion  of  the  money 
I  purchased  cloth,  and  expended  the  balance  in  company  with  an  a- 
bandoned  female  who  bo-arded  at  Syrams's  house.  In  a!)out  three 
weeks  my  money  was  alt  expended,  and  in  order  to  replenish  my  cof- 
fers, I  broke  a  store,  kept  I  ihrnk,  by  Bennet  »fc  Brown,  near  the  liead 
of  Long  wharf,and  obtained  about  .4^2'60  in  silver,and  conveyed  it  to^  my 
boarding  house,  taking  the  precaution  to  bury  it  in  the  back  yard. — 
This  was  about  the  middle  of  May  1825,  and  the  money  lasted  me  a- 
bout  one  month.  Aboitt  the  latter  part  of  May  1825,  I  formed  an  ac- 
quaintance with  a  man,  wbo  is  now  living,  but  whose  name  I  do  not 
wish  to  mention.  He  proposed  to  visit  Worcester  with  me,  with  a 
view,  if  practicable,  to  break  and  enter  the  Worcester  Bank.  Oh  ex- 
amination however,  we  found  it  was  situated  rather  too  near  a  dwel- 
ling-house to  make  the  attempt  with  safe£y,and  therefore  gave  up  the 
project.  On  our  return,  we  broke  a  store  in  Concord,  kept,  as  near  as 
I  can  recollect,  by  a  Mr  Burr.  Found  no  money  and  took  nothing; 
merely  committed  a  little  mischief  by  scattering  the  p-apers  about  near 
the  window  by  wdiich  we  entered  the  building. 

Shortly  afier  our  visit  to  Worcester,  we  went  to  examine  the  Lynn 
Bank;  decided  upon  making  an  attempt  to  break  it.  The  night  we 
^elected  for  that  purpose,  it  so  happened  there  was  a  meeting  near  by,. 
and  we  could  not  commence  operations  so  early  as  was  intended.  We 
found  so  much  difficulty  in  oar  progress,  and  having  commenced  work 
late,  that  at  daylight,  we  had  not  succeeded  in  forcing  the  lock  of 
the  vault,  and  were  obliged,  for  safety  V  sake^to  ubandori  the  enterprise,, 
though  within  sight  of  the  money.  A  few  nights  after  the  attempt  at 
Lynn,  we  broke  a  store  in  Boston,  occupied,  1  believe,  by  a  firm  under 
the  nanie  of  Brown  &  Train,  situated  near  the  head  of  Central  wharf. 
■  Found  about  five  or  six  dollars  in  money,  a  gold  seal  which  we  valued 
at  fifteen  dollars,  some  silver  pencil  cases,one  pair  of  pistols  and  a  pock- 
.et  book— the  whole  valued  at  about  thirty  or  thirty-five  dollars.  Not 
wanting  the  pistols  then,  we  placed  them  and  the  pocket  book  along 
sideof  a  man  who  lay  asleep  in  a  small  boat  at  a  wdiarfas  we  passed 
along.  The  man  was  afterwards  suspected  of  breaking  the  store,  ar- 
rested and  examined  before  the  Police  Court.'  The  evidence,  however, 
not  proving  sufficient,  he  was  not  bound  over  for  trial.  I  and  my  ac- 
complice were  present  in  court  during  the  examination.  There  ap- 
peared to  be  much  prejudice  against  the  man  in  the  minds  of  the  spec- 
tators, most  of  whom  thought  him  guilty,  especially  the  constables,who 
remarked  after  he  wasdiseharged,that  it  was  of  no  use  to  arrest  a  man,: 

TMF.    IllfJinVAYMAK.  « 

foi-  the  .Tiiilge  (Wliitmu!))  would  not  bind  him  over,  if  ever  so  guilty. 
They  appeared  much  dissalij-fied  at  (he  Judge's  deoisiou. 

A  tew  days  after  tliis  afrair,  I  secreted  myself  in  a  store  on    

,  just  before  it  was  closed  at  nitht  and  \vas  locked  in.  At  a  pro- 
per timel  ascended  to  the  second  story,  broke  the  desk,  a«d  found  a 
roll  of  bills  and  a  watch,  and  joined  my  friend  who  was  near,  on  the 
outside,  waiting  for  me.  We  returned  to  Symm's  and  on  looking 
over  our  plunder  found  the  bills  were  worthlesp,being  on  broken  banks 
amounting  in  ail  to  $600,  the  v.'atch  was  vahied  at  thirty  dollars. — 
Early  in  June,  1825,  1  formed  an  ac<?iUainlancc  with  William  Ross,aa 
Irishman,  1  think,  who  had  but  recently  been  discharged  from  this 
prison.  He  was  a  famous  rogue,  and  was  afterwards  executed  in 
Canada,  together  with  two  or  three  others  of  his  associates  for  robbing 
a  priesi* 

Ross  came  to  board  at,  Symms's.  He  was  rather  unwilling  to  hazard 
any  tiling  in  this  State,  as  he  had  been  twice  in  the  State  Prison  here, 
and  on  a  third  commitment  would  be  liable,  under  the  severity  of  the 
laws  of  tliis  Slate,  to  be  sentenced  for  life.  He  and  my  friend  there- 
fore went  to  Providence,  and  broke  a  store  and  sold  some  of  the  goods 
in  Boston,  ^ly  friend  was  arrested  on  suspicion  of  having  stolen  goods. 
He  stated  that  he  received  the  goods.  I  being  present  at  the  Police 
Court  at  the  time,  immediately  went  to  Symms's  and  informed  Ross 
ofthe  circumstance.  He  imn^ediately  left  the  house  and  proceeded  to 
the  burying-ground  on  the  Common,  to  keep  a  look  out.  In  about 
tv,'enly  minutes  the  officers  were  at  the  house  in  pursuit  of  hinij  they 
searched  the  house,  but  of  course,  did  not  succeed  in  finding  liim. — 
Ross  remained  on  the  Conimon  three  or  four  days;  I  carried  him 
breakfast  and  dinner  there,  and  at  night  he  would  go  out  to  Roxbury. 
He  was  desirous  of  raisitig  some  money  as  soon  as  possible,  in  order  to 
get  off  out  of  the  vvay.  He  said  he  could  rai.-e  it  most  readily  with  the 
pistol,  on  the  highway.  Accordingly  we  went  on  the  road  leading  to 
Brighton,  and  remained  utitil  ten,  P.  M.  Nothing  favorable  present- 
ing itself,  we  returned.  Next  day.  according  to  previous  arrangement, 
\VQ  went  to  the  woods  in  Rosbury,  and  took  a  station  near  the  road. — 
Our  conversation,  wliile,  was  principally  in  relation  to  crimes, 
he  being  well  versed  in  the  subject,  while  1  was,  as  it  were,  but  a  no- 
vice. He  remarked  upon  the  most  sure  and  safe  means  for  successful 
enterprises.  He  considered  highway  robbery  most  likely  to  result  favor- 
ably with  respect  to  gain,  but  considered  it  by  far  the  moat  dangerous 
niodc  of  securing  unlawful  gains,  and  in  his  opinion,  ought  not  to  be 
undertaken  W'ithout  using  every  precaution  for  personal  safety — that 
a  nian  should  be  prepared  to  hazard  his  life  in  such  cases,which  a  man 
of  spirit  should  not  hesitate  to  do-  if  occasion  demanded  it  in  order  to 
raise  funds. 

Ho  spoke  ofthe  severity  of  the  criminal  lav»^  against  offenders  on  the 
highway,  and  thought  on  that  account,  highway  robbery  should  not 
he  followed  as  a  profession.  He  gave  me  a  history  of  his  life:  said  he 
had  escaped  from  the  State  Prisons  of  Maryland,  New  York  and  Mas- 
sachusetts— ijiat  he  had  been  a  rogue  from  early  life,  and  once  robbed 

8  LIFE    OP   WALTON, 

Ills  fntlier,  linferip.d  lie  had  been  guilty  of  highway  rob!  cry  in  form- 
er times.  He  was  a  generous  hearted  fellow,  a  good  scholar,  and  could 
write  and  engrave  well.  I  do  not  think  l)e  had  ever  been  guilty  of 
murder;  nor  do  I  think  that  any  one  but  a  coward  would  take  human 
life,  except  in  self  defence.  In  that  case  1  think  it  justifiable;  and 
even  if  I  was  robbing  a  man,  and  found  it  necessary  to  kill  him,  in 
order  to  save  m}^  own  life,  I  should  not  think  it  wrong;  it  would  be 
i^aerely  acting  in  self  defence.  The  first  law  of  nature  is  self  preserva- 
tion, and  tliis  principle  would  justify  me  in  any  measure  necessary  for 
the  preservation  of  life.  In  the  course  of  our  conversation,  Ross  hint- 
ed tliat  there  might  be  money  deposited  in  the  office  of  the  British 
Consul,  in  Boston,  and  advised  me  to  examine  the  place  and  break  it 
if  possible.  As  nothing  of  importance  passed  on  the  road,  we  separat- 
ed about  ten,  P.  M.;  Ross  remarking  that  he  intended  to  leave  this 
part  of  the  country,  and  tliat  probably  we  should  never  meet  each  oth- 
er again  in  this  world — which  has  proved  to  be  the  case,  lie  proceed- 
ed to  Lower  Canada,  and,  as  has  been  before  stated,  was  executed  on 
the  gallows,  in  company  with  several  others  of  his  associates,  for  rob- 
bing a  priest  of  fSOOO. 

I  returned  to  Boston,  and  the  next  day  reconnoitered  the  Consul's 
office,  and  broke  and  entered  the  building  the  following  night.  I  look- 
ed over  the  papers  in  his  office  and  desk,  and  took  an  article,  which, 
on  examination  next  day,  proved  to  be  the  stamp  or  seal  of  His  Bri- 
tanic  Majesty's  Consul  at  Boston.  About  this  time,  June  IGih,  1B25, 
I  fell  in  with  my  former  associate,  whose  name  I  decline  giving.  We 
talked  over  the  subject  of  a  journey  to  Keene,  N.  H.,  for  the  [purpose 
of  reconnoitering  and  breaking,  if  practicable,  the  Bank  in  that  place. 
Having  made  our  arrangements  accordingly,  and  hired  a  good  horse 
and  wagon,  we  soon  left  Boston  for  the  place  of  our  destination,  car- 
rying with  us  a  good  supply  of  tools,  the  better  to  enable  us  to  efi'ect 
the  object  of  our  visit.  I  had  once  visited  the  Bank  for  the  purpose 
of  getting  a  bill  exchanged,  and  knew,  therefore,  something  of  the  lo- 
cality and  interior  of  the  establishment. 

Notwithstanding  the  precautions  v.-e  had  taken,  we  found,  on  trial, 
that  our  tools  were  not  suitably  prepared  to  force  an  iron  door,  which 
protected  the  vault,  and  which  I  had  not  foreseen  would  be  met  in 
our  progress.  Discovering  a  contiivance  of  the  Cashier  to  enable  him 
to  ascertain  if  any  attempts  had  been  made  to  force  the  doors  of  the 
Bank,  and  presuming  therefore,  that  our  proceedings  would  be  discov- 
ered, we  concluded  to  give  up  any  further  eflbrts,  and  therefore,  after 
taking  out  of  the  banking  room  several  hundred  dollars  in  bank  bills 
and  a  quantity  of  cents  and  securing  them  on  the  side  of  the  road, 
started  again  for  Boston.  About  daylight  we  were  passed  by  the  stage 
and^several  persons  on  the  road;  and  on  its  being  discovered  i hat  an 
attempt  had  been  made  to  break  the  vaults  of  the  Bank,  we  were  sus- 
pected, pursued  and  overtaken  same  day  about  four  o'clock,  P.  M. — • 
As  we  drove  very  fast,  we  did  not  for  a  moment  su-pect  the  persons 
coming  up  behind  us  were  in  pursuit,  and  were  not  therefore  prepar- 
ed for  resistance.     Two  men  in  a  wagon,  and  one  in  a  chaise  rode 

*faE    HtGttWAYMAN.  9 

along  side  of  Us,  and  enteiing  into  conversation,  inquired  if  we  were 
goino;  to  Boston,  and  giving'  us  to  understand  that  they  had  a  mes- 
sage they  should  Uke  to  send,  and  continued  to  approach  us  along  side 
until  they  gained  a  good  position  for  stopping  us;  upon  which  they  in- 
formed us  that  we  were  su-pected  of  breaking  the  Cheshire  Bank,  at 
Keene,  and  they  should  arrest  us,  which  they  did,  and  returned  to 
Keene  with  us  without  delay. 

I  should  not  have  been  taken  quite  so  easily  a  few  years  after  this 
affair;  but  from  our  peculiar  situation,  and  being  a  mere  boy,  I  could 
not  make  resistance  with  any  prospect  of  success.  Next  day  we  were 
examined  at  Keene,  and  were  bound  over  for  trial  at  the  October  term 
of  the  S.  J.  Court.  Our  bonds  were  set  at  $600  each,  and  not,  hav- 
ing friends  or  means  of  our  own,  were  committed  to  Jail  for  safe  keep- 
ing. We  gave  information  of  the  place  where  we  obtained  our  horse 
and  chaise;  but  I  do  not  know  whether  the  owner,  Mr  John  Brittan 
of  Boston,  ever  obtained  his  property  again. 

While  in  jail,  we  were  treated  well  by  the  keeper,  and  kindly  by 
the  Bank  officers.  After  being  in  confinement  a  few  weeks,  we  made 
aa  attempt  to  break  out,  but  not  succeeding,  were  put  in  irons. 

Some  iron  bars  had  been  placed  perpendicularly  on  the  outside  of 
our  window  to  prevent  the  introduction  of  tools  and  other  articles  from 
without:  these  bars  tended  to  prevent  a  wholesome  and  necessay  circula- 
tion of  air,  and  therefore  we  requested  the  .Tailor  to  have  them  removed. 
We  considered  the  request  resonable;  but  the  Jailor  thought  otherwise, 
and  declined  granting  it.  1  threatened  if  they  were  not  removed  to  burn 
them  outjbeing  secured  in  wood  work.  Shortly  after,  we  made  the  exper- 
iment, and  were  in  hopes  of  not  only  securing  a  better  circulation  of  air, 
but  of  opening  a  passage  for  the  more  free  exercise  of  our  bodies:  the 
fire  however  communicated  with  the  wood  work  on  the  outside  of  the 
prison,  which  was  discovered  by  the  Jailor,  and  of  course  our  hopes 

We  made  no  further  elTorts  to  effect  an  escape  before  the  day  of  trial. 
For  this  attempt  we  were  chained  down  to  the  floor,  but  having  suc- 
ceeded in  from  outside,  we  finally  sawed  off  our  chains. — 
After  this  we  were  suffered  to  remain  without  them  but  were  under  a 
very  strict  watch. 

I  never,  in  my  life,  was  committed  to  jail  when  I  had  not  tools 
secreted  in  my  clothing  or  in  some  other  perfectly  safe  place,  which 
were  siifiicient  to  insure  escape  by  sawing  off  bars,  grates  or  in  some 
other  way,  except  the  first  time  when  I  was  committed  at  East  Cam- 

After  I  was  found  out, however,  they  generally  watched  me  so  closely, 
that  no  possible  chance  presented  itself  of  using -them  with  success. — 
On  being  arraigned  for  trial  in  October,  1825,  I  found  an  indictment 
had  been  made  out  against  me  not  only  for  breaking  the  Bank,  but 
for  attempting  to  burn  the  Jail.  We  had  no  counsel  and  were  convict- 
ed: I  was  sentenced  to  five  years  hard  labor  for  breaking  the  Bank: 
and  ten  days  solitary  confinement  and  ten  years  hard  labor  for  attempt- 
ing to  burn  the  Jail.     My  friend  and   associate  in  the  Bank   affair, 


10  LIFK    OF    WALTON. 

received  a  sentence  of  five  years  for  his  part  of  that  transaction.  On 
Sunday  the  23d  of  October,1825,\ve  were  committed  to  the  State  Prison 
at  Concord  N.  H.  in  pursuance  of  the  conditions  of  our  sentences. 

There  were  four  of  us  couHuitfed  at  that  time:  on  our  arrival,  the 
warden,  caused  us  to  be  searched,  but  did  not  succeed  in  obtaining  but 
about  twenty  dollars,  in  bank  bills,  which  I  had  stowed  away  in  each 
side  of  my  mouth.  After  being  dressed  in  the  common  prison  clothing 
we  were  ordered  into  the  cells,  not  however  before  another  search  was 
made  by  examining  our  mouths  and  other  places,  to  asertain  if  we  had 
any  money  about  us. 

Finding  what  was  going  on,  I  slipped  the  money  from  my  moutli 
to  my  hand,  and  held  it  against  the  palm  with  my  thumb,  and  again 
'eluded  discovery.  Next  morning  my  hair  was  cut  short,  and  I  was 
put  to  the  employment  of  stone  cutting.  I  soon  discovered  that  money 
was  useful  in  prison  as  well  as  outside:  various  articles  could  be  obtain- 
ed by  means  of  teamsters  and  others,  visiting  the  prison  on  business: 
even  rum  was  not  difficult  to  be  got  by  those  who  wanted  it. 

1  was  received  into  prison  under  rather  a  bad  name  from  the  jailor 
at  Keene  and  also  from  others;  and  was  accordingly  watched  pretty 
close;  for  the  first  three  weeks  therefore,  I  kept  quiet  and  orderly, 
after  a  while,  thinking  there  might  be  a  chance  for  escape,  I  fixed  a 
hook  upon  a  pole  and  made  an  attempt  to  scale  the  yard  wail:  I  had 
nearly  reached  the  top,  climbing  up  the  pole,  when  the  sentry  discover- 
ed me  and  hailed,  threatening  to  fire,  if  I  did  not  immediately  return 
back.  Fire  away,  said  I,  which  he  did,  and  being  near,  wounded  me 
in  the  hip  with  a  buck  shot.  The  effect  of  the  wound  caused  some 
faintness  and  I  was  unable  to  continue  my  hold  upon  the  pole,  and 
therefore  slipped  down  into  the  yard  again.  The  warden  and  several 
of  the  keepers  approached  me,and  after  a  slight  resistance  I  was  secur- 
ed, and  placed  in  a  cell  without  bed  or  furniture  of  any  kind.  The 
physician  was  sent  for  and  the  shot  cut  out.  1  was  confined  in  solita- 
ry, on  bread  and  water,  about  twenty  days  for  this  affair.  The  Gov- 
ernor and  Council  visited  the  prison  while  1  was  in  solitary,  and  con- 
versed with  me  in  relation  to  my  conduct.  After  the  expiration  of  the 
twenty  days,  I  was  put  to  stone  cutting  again,  and  had  an  iron  block 
and  chain  attached  to  my  right  leg.  In  a  few  days  1  succeeded  in 
breaking  off  a  part  of  the  iron  from  the  block,  and  by  corroding  the 
part  separated  with  vinegar,  deceived  the  officer  into  the  belief  of  my 
story,  that  it  was  an  old  crack,  and  that  the  parts  separated  in  conse- 
quence of  throwing  the  block  out  of  bed  in  the  morning  when  getting 
up  to  dress.  I  wore  the  block  until  about  the  month  of  January, 
1826,  and  thought  that  it  had  been  on  a  sufficient  time,  and  request- 
ed the  warden  to  cause  it  to  be  taken  off.  He  did  not  seem  disposed 
ed  to  comply  with  the  request,  therefore  I  broke  the  chain  with  a  stone 
hammer  and  threw  the  whole  away.  Another  block  and  chain  was 
attached  to  my  leg,  and  I  was  secured  to  a  ring-bolt  in  my  ceil,  and  the 
whole  made  fast  with  a  padlock.  The  warden  remarking,  'that  he 
thought  I  was  secure,'  Before  he  had  succeeded  in  fastening  my 
door,  I  broke  the  padlock  and  freed  the  chain  from  the  ring-bolt.     The 



warden  heard  me,  came  back,  sent  for  his  blacksmith,  and  made  my 
chain  secure  to  the  ring-bolt  with  rivets.  I  remained  in  this  situa- 
tion seventeen  days  without  bed  or  blankets — nothing  in  fact,  but  a 
stone  floor  to  lie  upon;  and  this  was  in  the  cold  month  of  January. — 
I  was  stubborn,  and  would  not  send  for  the  warden,  which,  if  I  had, 
and  shown  a  proper  temper  of  mind,  1  doubt  not  I  should  have  been 
released  from  my  unpleasant  situation  much  sooner. 

My  allowance,  during  the  time,  was  eight  ounces  of  bread  and  a 
pint  of  water  per  day.  When  taken  out,  my  feet  were  badly  frozen. — 
I  was  put  into  another  cell  and  made  comfortable.  In  this  cell  I 
was  closely  confined  most  of  the  time  till  the  June  following. 

By  the  carelessness  of  one  of  the  otficers,  my  cell  door  one  morning, 
was  left  unlocked.  I  took  the  lock  into  my  cell,  made  an  impression  of 
the  form  of  the  key,  sent  it  to  the  blacksmith  by  a  fellow  convict,  and 
soon  had  a  good  key  of  my  own  to  be  used  at  some  period,  as  occasion 
might  require.  In  making  on  attempt  to  get  out  of  my  cell  by  cutting 
away  the  stone  in  order  to  remove  the  hooks  of  the  hinges,  I  was  over- 
heard by  the  deputy  warden,  who  after  a  long  search  discovered  the 
cause  of  the  noise  I  had  made.  I  was  ordered  into  punishment  on  ac- 
count thereof.  While  in  solitary  or  punishment,  I  was  not  allowed 
bed  or  bedding,  and  was  restricted  to  eight  ounces  of  bread,  and  one 
pint  of  water  per  day.  In  this  situation  I  was  kept  twelve  days,  and 
then  ordered  into  a  cell  in  the  lower  arch  and  made  comfortable, 

[It  may  not  be  improper  to  state  in  this  place,  that  the  prison  in  which 
Walton  was  confined,  in  Concord,  was  the  old  building,  erected  before 
the  prisons  on  the  Auburn  plan  were  introduced.] 

I  was  confined  nearly  four  months  in  the  cell  in  the  lower  arch,  but 
was  allowed  full  diet.  About  this  time  a  new  warden  took  charge  of 
the  Prison,  the  former  warden  having  resigned  his  office.  If  at  this 
time  my  irons  had  been  taken  off,  and  I  been  set  to  work  in  the  yard, 
I  should  have  behaved  well;  but  as  they  showed  me  no  favor,  I  was 
determined  to  give  them  all  necessary  employment  to  make  me  se- 

The  latter  part  of  October,  I  was  permitted  to  go  into  the  Prison 
yard,  with  a  shackel,  block  and  chain  attached  to  my  leg,  weighing 
in  all,  about  forty  pounds.  In  this  situation  I  remained  until  Febru- 
ary, when,  notwithstanding  my  obedience  to  the  rules  and  regulations 
of  the  Prison,  the  warden  refused  to  grant  my  request  to  cause  the 
chains,  (fcc,  to  be  taken  off.  Finding  he  was  determined  not  to  re- 
lease me,  I  cut  the  chain  with  a  cold  chisel,  and  threw  the  block  into 
the  vault.  For  this  ofTence,  I  was  put  into  solitary  punishment  again 
— had  a  small  iron  block  fastened  to  one  of  my  legs,  and  remained  in 
this  situation  twelve  days;  after  which  I  was  put  to  work  again. — • 
Shortly  after  this  I  remonstrated  with  the  Warden  for  keeping  me  in 
chains — and  thought  it  hard  that  I  should  be  treated  with  a  severity 
far  exceeding  that  of  the  other  convicts.  Under  excited  feelings,  I 
remarked  that  he  had  no  right  to  use  me  worse  than  he  did  others — 
and  told  him  I  would  cut  off  my  chains  as  often  as  he  put  them  on, 
and  immediately  commenced  putting  my  threat  into  execution,  by  cut- 

12  LIFE    OP    WALTON, 

ting  off  those  I  then  had  fastened  to  my  leg.  My  feelings  were  wrought 
up  to  such  a  state  of  desperation,  that  1  armed  myself  with  a  knife,  for 
defence  or  attack,  if  occasion  should  seem  to  render  it  expedient  and 

The  warden  sent  for  three  or  four  of  the  officers,  to  iron  me  more  se- 
curely, if  possible,  than  he  did  before.  I  drew  my  knife  upon  them, 
and  they  all  ran  out  of  the  cell.  The  warden  ordered  a  gun  to  be 
brought,  and  threatened  to  fire  upon  me  unless  I  submitted  to  him. — 
I  dared  him  to  execute  his  threat,  and  firmly  kept  my  position.  Af- 
ter threatening  and  scolding  awhile,  they  retired  to  the  guard  room, 
leaving  me  in  possession  of  the  cell,  and  of  the  tools  they  left  in  their  re- 

I  remained  in  this  situation  four  or  five  days,  having  nothing  but  the 
bare  stones  to  lay  upon.  An  ofiicer  now  came  to  me,  and  by  kind 
words  I  was  induced  to  give  up  the  tools  and  surrender  myself  to  the 
authorities  .of  the  Prison.  An  iron  shackel,  weighing  about  two 
pounds,  was  now  fastened  upon  my  leg,  and  I  was  removed  to  another 
cell,  allowed  full  rations,  and  made  comfortable  as  circumstances  would 
permit  in  such  a  place. 

In  this  cell  I  was  closely  confined  one  year  and  seven  days — not 
being  allowed  to  go  into  the  yard  more  than  five  limes  during  that 
whole  period,  and  then  only  about  twenty-five  minutes  each  lime,  and 
well  guarded  by  three  or  four  officers. 

At  the  expiration  of  the  year  and  seven  days,the  warden  came  to  my 
cell,  and  was  anxious  to  obtain  my  promise  not  to  attempt  any  further 
measures  for  effecting  my  escape.  I  remarked  that  it  was  his  duty 
to  keep  me  in  confinement,  but  that  I  should  escape  if  possible — and 
would  not  promise  to  desist  from  making  an  attempt.  The  warden 
finally  suflfered  me  to  go  into  the  yard.  I  found  that  during  my  long 
confinement  in  the  cell,they  had  taken  the  precaution  to  place  the  yard 
in  a  more  secure  condition,  by  erecting  a  palisade  on  the  top  of  the 
wall,  increasing  the  height  about  eight  feet — making  the  whole  height 
of  the  yard  about  twenty  feet,  instead  of  about  twelve  feet  as  forme  ly. 
In  about  two  months  I  sawed  off  the  shackel  and  made  an  attempt  to 
scale  the  wall.  An  officer  fired  and  missed  me;  he  fired  a  second  time 
with  no  better  success.  Another  officer  then  fired,  and  the  ball  passed 
between  my  arm  and  head:  my  arm  being  up  in  the  position  of  rais- 
i  ng  myself  over  the  picket  on  the  wall.  As  yet  I  was  uninjured, though 
I  had  been  fired  npon  three  times.  On  looking  around  from  the  top 
of  the  palisade,  1  observed  the  deputy  warden  and  a  watchman  pro- 
ceeding to  the  point  where  1  should  have  to  land  on  the  other  side  of 
the  wall;  under  these  circumstance,  I  concluded  it  would  be  of  no  use 
to  proceed  further,  and  therefore  descended  to  the  yard  again;  and  was 
soon  accosted  by  the  Warden,  who  inquired  if  I  had  been  on  the  wall. 
I  told  him  that  I  had.  He  remarked  that  he  was  sorry  that  1  had  been 
making  another  attempt  to  escape.  He  spoke  mildly  to  me  on  the  sub- 
ject of  my  conduct — ordered  me  into  solitary  punishment,  and  after 
ten  days,  took  me  out  and  had  me  placed  in  my  former  cell  again. — • 
I  was  confined  three  or  four  months  in  this  cell,  and  not  suffered  to  go 
into  the  yard  once  during  the  whole  time. 


While  in  the  yard,  prior  to  my  last  attempt  to  escape,  I  stocked  my 
cell  with  a  good  supply  of  tools,  intending  to  amuse  myself  by  working 
out  through  the  walls  or  floor  if  possible.  I  had  a  stone  hammer  and 
other  tools,  and  secreted  them  under  the  floor  out  of  sight. 

During  my  last  confinement  in  this    eel!,   I  succeeded   in  cutting 
nearly  through  the  floor — but  was  finally  di3C0Vered,and  a  close  watch 
was  kept  up  by  officers  who  were  well  armed.     Finding  I  was  so  close- 
ly watched,  that  no  possible  chance   of  success   remained,  I  gave  up 
making  any  further  eflforts  at  this  time.     The  warden  came   into   my 
cell  one  day,  and  discovering  the  hole  I  had  made,ordered  me  into  sol- 
itary punishment,  and  kept  me  in  that  state  twelve  days;  after  which, 
I  was  taken  up  into  a  large  cell  in  the  upper  story  of  the   prison,  and 
chained  to  a  ring-bolt  in  a  corner  of  the   room.     A  very  heavy  chain 
and  a  shackle  were  used  for  the  purpose,and  a  straw  bed  allowed  me  to 
^eep  on.     My  shackle  was  examined  every  day,  but  I   soon  found  it 
was  so  large,  that  I  could  disengage  my  foot  from   it.     Soon    after  the 
daily  examination,  therefore,  I  would  release  myself  from  the  irons,and 
enjoy  (he  liberty  of  the  whole   room,    for  exercise.     During  pleasant 
moonlight  nights,  I  used  to  sit  at  the  window  of  my  cell — which  privi- 
lege afforded  me  a  degree  of  happiness  that  sweetened  the  solitude  of 
my  situation,  and  rendered  my  condition  comparatively  pleasant  and 
agreeable.     Whenever  I  heard  the  officers  approaching  my  cell,  I  used 
to  slip  on  the  shackle,  and  they  were  not  the  wiser  for  the  discovery  I 
had  made. 

I  remained  in  this  room  from  May,  1828,  to  the  November  foUoW-^ 
ing;  ray  shackle  was  then  taken  off,  after  working  nearly  an  hour  to 
accomplish  their  object !  1  was  then  set  to  work  repairing  the  cell 
which  1  had  formerly  nearly  broken  through;  after  which  a  small 
shackle  was  fastened  upon  my  leg,  and  I  was  ordered  to  work  in  the 
stone  shed  once  more.  About  this  time  I  began  to  think,from  inform- 
ation which  I  had  received,  that  there  was  a  prospect  of  a  change  a- 
raong  the  officers  of  the  prison,  and  that  the  warden  would  not  remain 
long.  I  therefore  concluded  to  bear  my  troubles  with  a  manly.forti- 
tude,  and  await  the  operation  of  things.  In  the  spring  of  1829,  my 
anticipations  were  realised — the  warden  left,  and  his  successor  took 
charge  of  the  prison  in  July  of  that  year. 

New  under  officers  were  appointed,  with  the  exception  of  the  over- 
seer of  the  Stone  Department,  and  of  the  Blacksmith's  shop;  and  the 
affairs  of  ihe  prison  were  brushed  up  and  put  into  a  new  train. 

The  late  warden  was  kind  enough  to  remove  my  shackle  before  he 
took  leave  of  the  prison,  but  I  soon  found  that  his  successor  had  been 
particularly  informed  respecting  my  conduct.  And  as  is  an  old  saying, 
that  a  new  broom  sweeps  clean,  the  new  officers  kept  an  especial  eye 
upon  me  and  did  not  suffer  me  to  move  about  the  yard  without  their 
notice.  Soon  after  his  appointment,  the  new  warden  conversed  with 
me,  remarking  that  he  heard  I  was  a  hard  character  to  deal  with,  but 
said  that  if  I  was  disposed  to  conduct  well  and  obey  the  officers,  he 
would  treat  me  kindly,  and  would  assist  me  in  obtaining  a  pardon  after 
I  had  been  confined  a  reasonable  time.     In  the  fall  of  the  same  year, 

14  LIFE  OP    WALTO??, 

he  informecl  me  that  he  intended  enlarging"  the  shoe  maker's  apartment, 
and  that  if  I  had  a  desire  to  learn  that  trade,  I  could  have  the  oppor- 
tunit}'-.  not  liking  the  stone  cutting  business,  I  gladly  accepted  his 
kind  offer,  and  went  to  work  in  the  shoe  maker's  shop  accordingly, — 
Daring  the  following  winter  and  spring,a  Sabbath  school  was  establish- 
ed in  the  prison,  and  the  Convicts  were  instructed  in  morals  and  reli- 
gion by  gentlemen  from  Concord  and  the  neighbouring  towns.  B}'' 
the  kind  attention  of  the  gentlemen,  I  was  constantly  supplied  wiih 
books  of  an  historical,  biographical,  moral  and  miscellaneous  character, 
which  entertained  and  instructed  me  during  the  remainder  of  my 
confinement  in  that  institution. 

In  Oct.  1830,  my  companion  in  the  affair  of  theBank,  was  discharg- 
ed by  expiration  Of  sentence,  and  I  was  placed  in  solitary  to  serve  out 
the  ten  days  awarded  by  court  as  my  second  sentence  for  attempting 
to  burn  the  jail.  I  suffered  but  little  depression  of  feelings  at  the 
separation  from  my  old  friend  and  companion.  In  fact  T  seldom  if  ever 
do,at  any  time  or  under  any  circumstances:  I  think  it  better  to  bear  up 
under  misfortunes  and  trouble  than  to  sit  and  brood  over  them  under 
desponding  feelings.  I  suffer  nothing,  if  possible,  to  trouble  my  mind. — 
As  much  as  I  dislike  a  prison,  and  irksome  as  it  is  to  me  to  be  under 
confinement  and  restraint,  I  do  not  and  will  not  repine — hoping  for 
better  days  or  looking  for  some  lucky  time  to  effect  an  escape.  So 
little  feeling  do  I  have  in  this  respect,  that  I  do  not  recollect  ever  shed- 
ding a  tear  over  my  misfortunes,  excepting  on  the  occasion  of  my  first 
being  committed  to  jail  at  Cambridge  in  this  state.  I  soon  learned  how- 
ever, on  that  occasion,  thatit  would  bs  useless  to  repine  at  my  lot  and 
that  it  was  far  better  to  look  trouble  hard  in  the  face,  than  give  up  to 
despondency  and  sorrow.  During  the  winter  and  spring  of  1830 — 
31,  I  had  frequent  conversation  with  the  warden  on  the  subject  of  a 
pardon.  He  promised  to  attend  to  the  case.  By  his  consent,  I  was 
permitted  private  interviews  with  one  of  the  members  of  the  bar,  which 
resulted  in  his  sending  a  petition  to  the  Governor  and  Council  for  a 

The  Executive  visited  the  prison  and  gave  me  an  opportunity  to  lay 
my  case  before  them  personally.  I  thought  I  ought  not  to  be  held  any 
longer  under  the  second  sentence,  for  I  had  made  only  a  civil  attempt 
for  liberty,  without  intending  to  destroy  the  jail — 1  think  the  Eexcutive 
concurred  in  this  view  of  the  case.  In  the  fall,  a  petition  was  drawn 
up  and  signed  by  myself,  the  warden,  deputy  and  such  of  the  under 
officers  as  were  acquainted  with  the  facts  of  my  case,  and  who  had  been 
in  prison  any  length  of  time,  and  was  laid  before  the  Governor  and 

In  about  two  weeks  afterwards,!  was  called  into  the  warden's  room, 
and  informed  that  a  pardon  had  been  granted  me,  and  that  I  was  to 
be  discharged  forthwith.  I  was  furnished  with  a  decent  suit  of  clothes 
three  dollars  in  money,  and,  after  a  long  and  tedious  confinement  of 
six  years,  lacking  ten  days,  was  permitted,  once  more  to  enjoy  the  hap- 
piness of  a  state  of  liberty  and  a  freedom  from  all  restraint.  A  gentle- 
inan,who  was  a  stranger  to  me,  happening  to  be  at  the  prison  on  busi- 


ness  al  the  timej.kindl}'  took  me  into  his  chaise,  and  brought  me  with 
in  a  few  miles  of  my  own  native  town, Lancaster  in  this  state.  Notwith- 
standing my  confinement  and  my  restlessness  while  in  confinement, 
and  subjected  lo  restraints,yet  on  first  being  at  large,  as  I  looked  abroad 
in  the  wide  world,  a  feeling  of  loneliness  tinctured  with  a  slight  gloomy 
sensation,  came  over  my  mind.  This  however  soon  passed  away  and 
I  began  to  feel  like  being  a  man  of  the  world  again.  I  visited  my 
friends  in  Lancaster,obtained  a  small  accession  to  my  funds,and  proceed- 
ed to  Boston  with  the  view  and  in  the  hope  of  obtaining  honest  employ- 
ment. On  my  arrival,  I  made  several  efforts  to  get  employment  at 
stone  cutting;  among  other  places  I  called  at  the  Navy  Yard,  where 
quite  a  large  number  of  persons  were  or  had  been  employed  at  that 
work;  but  was  told  they  did  not  want  more  help.  Not  succeeding 
in  obtaining  work  at  stone  cutting,  and  not  being  sufficiently  well 
learned  to  get  a  seat  at  shoe  making  and  my  money  getting  short. — 
I  came  to  the  final  conclusion  to  get  a  living  in  the  best  manner  possible 
under  the  circumstances  of  my  case. 

Passing  through  Brattle  street,  I  observed  a  watch  maker's  shop,and 
thought  there  was  a  chance  for  a  raise,  I  first  however,took  the  precau- 
tion to  enquire  of  a  man  whom  I  had  formerly  known,  whether  he 
would  take  the  watches  if  brought  to  him;  he  consented.  I  then  with 
a  centre  bit,  which  1  had  procured,  bored  a  hole  through  the  window 
of  sufiicient  dimensions  to  admit  my  arm  and  took  out  thirteen  watches 
carried  them  to  my  friend,  and  received  fifty  dollars  for  the  whole. —  - 
The  watches  proved  to  be  quite  ordinary,  the  owner  or  occupant  of  the 
shopjhaving  taken  away  at  night  all  those  that  were  of  a  good  quality. 
At  this  time  I  boarded  with  a  widow  woman  in  Lynn  street;  Symms 
was  not  to  be  found,  having  died  in  the  State  Prison,  as  I  afterwardss 

With  the  money  obtained  for  (he  watches  I  purchased  clothing  and 
paid  up  my  board  bill.  I  now  began  to  think  seriously  of  foljowing 
the  advice  given  me  by  my  old  friend  Ross;  and  finding  a  man  at  my 
boarding  house,  who  entertained  smiilar  views,  and  who  had,  as  I  had 
reason  to  suppose,  pursued  such  a  course  of  life — we  conferred  together 
on  the  subject,  and  finally  concluded  to  go  on  the  road  to  make  a 
raise:  we  accordingly  went  to  Roxbury  and  took  a  station  near  the 
road  side  in  the  wood,  bordering  on  the  Norfolk  and  Bristol  turnpike. — 
Soon  a  gentleman  and  lady  came  along  in  a  chaise;  my  companion 
seized  the  horse  by  the  bridle,  when  the  man  enquired  what  we 
wanted.  I  answered  "your  money  or  your  life  immediately."  He  ex- 
claimed, "well,dontfire,dont  fire,"  and  handed  me  his  pocket  book,which 
on  examining  contained  four  five  dollar  bank  bills,  one  of  which 
proved  to  be  a  counterfeit  on  the  Boston  Bank. 

We  had  prepared  ourselves  with  a  good  pair  of  pistols  before  starting 
from  Boston.  In  fact,  1  almost  always,  when  at  large,  after  my  ac- 
quaintance with  Ross,  carried  weapons  of  this  description;  he  advised 
me  never  to  be  without  them.  On  examining  the  wallet,  I  found  the 
name  of  George  Jones,  written  on  a  a  paper  enclosed,  and  the  next  day 
it  was  announced  in  the  public  papers,  that  George  Jones,  one  of  the 

16  LIFE    OF    WAtTOffj 

Constables  of  Boston,  wns  robbed  on  tlie  turnpike  the  nigbt  before.—- 
A  few  nights  after  the  robbeiy  of  Jones,  we  went  to  Dorchester,  and 
stopped  a  man  who  was  riding  in  a  ciiaise. 

He  appeared  much  alarmed,  and  said  he  had  no  money.  I  felt  of 
his  pockets  and  took  out  a  wallet,  but  found  no  money  in  it.  My 
companion  discovering  the  man  had  a  watch,  demanded  it;  1  was  op- 
posed to  the  proceeding,  but  my  friend  insisted,  and  finally  kept  it. — 
The  individual  appeared  like  a  person  employed  as  a  gentleman's  ser- 

The  papers  of  the  following  day  stated  that  he  was  robbed  of  his 
watch,  and  fifty  cents  in  money.  The  watch  would  not  have  been 
taken  from  the  man,  had  not  my  associate  been  somewhat  irritated  at 
remarks  which  he  heard  had  come  from  Mr.lone3,  who,  as  was  under- 
stood, boasted  of  his  receiving  from  me  his  watch,  after  it  had  been 
taken  from  him;  and  that  he  had  been  offered  forty  dollars  for  it  a  few 
days  previous. 

Two  reasons  induced  me  to  return  to  Mr  Jones  his  watch,  on  the 
night  he  was  robbed.  The  first  was,  I  thought  it  rather  hard  to  take 
a  man's  watch,  who  might  not  feel  able  to  supply  its  place  by  pur- 
chasing another — and  secondly  1  was  apprehensive  it  might  possibly 
lead  to  our  detection.  On  our  return  home,we  had  some  conversat  ion, 
with  respect  to  future  operations.  The  little  success  we  had  thus 
far  met  with  "on  the  road,"  rather  discouraged  me.  I  thought  the 
gain  not  equivalent  to  the  risk  we  exposed  ourselves  to — and  my  asso- 
ciate began  to  entertain  the  same  opinion.  We  thought  there  wvts 
greater  probability  of  success,  by  watching  the  delivery  of  money  from 
the  Banks,  and  attempting  a  "raise"  in  that  way.  Good  clothing,  mo- 
ne3''and  time,  however,  were  indispensable  to  ensure  success  in  such 
an  enterprise — and  my  limited  means  were  not  sufficient  for  the  un- 

To  carry  out  successfully  well  arranged  plans  of  roguery,  capital 
is  as  essential,  as  it  is  when  about  to  engage  in  any  mercantile  em- 
ployment. The  want  of  sufBcient  capital  in  the  outset,  is  the  princi- 
pal reason  why  so  few  of  those  who  commence  such  a  course  of  life 
do  not  succeed  in  their  undertakings.  It  was  the  principal  cause  of  my 
bad  luck.  I  was,  for  want  of  means,  necessitated  to  precipitate  my- 
self into  measures  which  were  ill-timed  and  rash,  and  which  resulted, 
in  consequence,  unfavorably. 

A  short  time  after  our  second  effort  on  the  highwa}',  I  was  inform- 
ed by  a  discharged  convict,  that  a  wagon  was  on  its  way  from  the 
city  to  the  country,  containing  a  large  quantity  of  dry  goods — that  it 
afforded  a  good  opportunity  to  make  a  raise,  and  that  the  goods  could 
be  disposed  of  to  a  person  whose  name  he  mentioned,  residing  in  the 
city.  Thinking  pretty  well  of  the  plan,  we  hired  a  horse  and  wagon 
of  Hobbs  h  Haynes,  and  drove  to  Waltham;  but  missing  the  road  the 
wagon  took,  we  did  not  fall  in  with  it — we  therefore  turned  back  for 
the  city  again.  On  our  way  home,  we  discovered  a  wagon  standing 
in  the  middle  of  the  road,  the  driver  of  which  was  some  way  back,  em- 
ployed in  assisting  another  team  out  of  some  difficulty  it  had  got  into. 

the:  highwayman.  17 

We  examined  the  contents  of  the  wagon,  and  took  out  two  good  buffa- 
lo robes  and  a  quantity  of  leather,  in  all  worth  about  seventy  dollars. 
We  passed  another  wagon,  which  w-as  near  a  tavern,  and  took  from  it 
four  pieces  of  broadcloth,  and  one  piece  of  cotton  cloth,  and  drove  to 
my  companion's  boarding  house  in  Ann  street,  and  there  deposited  our 

A  man,  half  drunk,  observed  us,  and  inquired  what  we  were  doing 
with  those  goods,  remarking  that  he  believed  they  were  stolen.  Upon 
this,  my  friend,  who  was  pretty  well  in  for  it,  knocked  the  fellow  down. 
He  got  on  his  feet  again  and  ran  towards  the  residence  of  of  Mr  Con- 
stable Shute,  who  lived  near  by.  Suspecting  trouble  was  brewing,and 
that  we  should  soon  probably  be  looked  after,  I  began  to  put  the  l3un- 
dles  into  the  wagon  again.  In  the  mean  time,  the  occupant  of  the 
house  and  my  friend,  took  to  their  heels  and  cleared  out. 

Before  I  had  succeeded  in  getting  all  the  articles  into  the  wagon, 
Mr  Shute  made  his  appearance,  in  company  with  another  person. — • 
He  inquired  what  I  was  doing  with  the  goods,  and  received  for  answer 
that  they  were  my  own,  and  that  I  had  a  store  in  Charlestown.  He 
Avished  to  know  in  what  part  of  Charlestown  my  store  was  situated, and 
was  answered,  near  the  Canal  Bridge.  He  inquired  what  I  was  doing 
with  the  leather.  I  informed  him  1  was  going  to  carry  it  home  for  an- 
other person.  He  did  not  then  notice  the  buffalo  robes,  they  being  un- 
der the  cloth.  Mr  Shute  then  left  the  wagon  in  charge  of  two  per- 
sons as  keepers,  and  went  in  to  search  the  house,  leaving  me  outside. 
In  fact,  not  being  certain  that  the  goods  were  stolen,  he  had  not  then 
arrested  me. 

While  he  was  looking  about  the  rooms,  I  went  in,  put  on  a  cloak 
and  came  out,  took  up  a  bundle  of  the  cloth  and  looking  atit,reraarked 
that  1  was  satisfied  the  goods  were  stolen,  and  should  carry  them 
down  to  Mr  Shute's  house.  Suiting  the  action  to  the  w^ord,  I  immet 
diately  jumped  into  the  wagon  and  drove  off.  The  men  in  charge,no- 
thinking  I  was  the  person  who  pretended  to  own  the  goods,  and  think- 
ing, doubtless,  I  had  been  sent  out  by  Mr  Shute,  to  convey  the  goods 
to  his  house.  I  had  rode  but  a  few  rods,  however,  before  they  discov- 
ered their  error,  and  the  cry,  "stop  that  w^agon,"  sounded  in  my  ears. 
Having  a  smart  horse,  I  drove  rapidly  over  the  Warren  Bridge,! h rough 
Charlestown,  and  around  the  Milk-rovv  road,  to  East  Cambridge,where 
[  secreted  myself  and  wagon  in  a  hollow  in  the  rear  of  a  meeting- 
house, and  there  remained  till  twelve  o'clock,  at  midnight.  After 
which,  I  drove  through  the  city,  to  the  house  of  an  acquaintance  in 
South  Boston — (old  him  what  I  had  to  dispose  of,  and  he  took  the 
cloth,  but  declined  receiving  the  leather  and  robes.  From  thence  I 
went  over  to  the  city,  and  leaving  the  wagon  under  a  shed  on  the  cor- 
ner of  Pleasant  street,  proceeded  to  the  residence  of  another  acquaint- 
ance, gave  him  as  a  present  the  remaining  articles,  not  left  at  South 
Boston,  and  requesting  him  to  return  the  horse  and  wagon  to  the  own- 
ers, went  to  my  boarding  house.  The  person  to  whom  Igave  the  robes 
and  leather,  was  observed,  while  carrying  the  articles  to  his  residence, 
and  suspicions  were  excited  that  he  came  by  them  dishonestly.     He 



imprudently  drove  the  wagon  to  the  house  of  an  Irishman,  instead  of 
the  stabV-  of  the  owner,  was  suspected,  arrested,  and  finally  bound  over 
for  trial.  "With  the  money  received  for  articles  I  sold,I  supplied  myself 
with  clothing,  and  had  some  funds  remaining,  and  was  about  leaving 
I^oston.  Being  in  want  of  a  cloak,  and  perceiving  one  hanging  out- 
side of  a  store  in  Ann  street,  I  took  it,  threw  it  over  my  shoulders,  and 
walked  off.  A  man  who  witnessed  the  transaction,  ran,  and  laying 
hold  of  me,  asked  if  it  was  my  cloak.  I  told  him  it  was.  He  remark- 
ing, however,  that  bethought  he  had  the  best  claim  to  it,  conveyed  me 
into  his  store  and  sent  for  an  officer.  While  the  persons  in  the  store 
were  standing  guard  over  me,  I  drew  my  pistol  and  presented  it  to  the 
breast  of  one  of  them — but  said  nothing,  well  knowing  the  consequen- 
ces that  might  result  from  making  a  threat  under  such  circumstances; 
one  of  the  men  instantly  sprang  back,  and  I  improved  the  opportunity 
to  make  my  exit  from  the  shop.  The  other  man  followed  me,  and 
jumping  upon  my  back,  with  the  aid  of  the  officer,  who  came  in  at  the 
critical  time,  secured  me  and  conducted  me  to  the  Police  Court,  where 
I  was  bound  over  for  trial  for  stealing  the  cloak  and  attempting  to  com- 
mit a  murder.  Securities  were  required  in  the  sum  of  $1500,  and  for 
want  thereof  I  was  committed  to  jail. 

Afterwards,  I  was  indicted  for  stealing  the  goods  from  the  wagon. 
In  about  two  vveeka  after  my  commitment,I  was  tried  and  convicted  of 
stealing  the  cloak  and  the  articles  from  the  wagon,  but  acquitted  of  an 
attempt  to  murder.  * 

I  was  sentenced  to  two  days  solitary  confinement,  and  two  years 
hard  labor  in  the  State  Prison,  and  was  conveyed  to  that  place  on  the 
16th  of  December,  1831.  Green,  the  man  who  received  the  robes  (fee, 
was  convicted  of  stealing  them  though  entirely  innocent  of  the  offence; 
he  knew  nothing  of  the  affair,  aud  only  received  them  as  a  present 
from  me.  He  was  aware,  to  be  sure,  from  what  I  told  him,  that  the 
articles  were  stolen;  and  if  he  had  been  convicted  of  receiving  stolen 
goods,  the  sentence  would  have  been  just.  He  was  sentenced  to  the 
State  Prison,  for  one  year.  He  was  discharged,  committed  on  another 
offence,  and  was  received  into  the  State  Prison  a  second  time,  under  a 
sentence  of  five  years  for  larceny,  before  my  sentence  expired.  While* 
in  the  institution,  on  my  first  commitment.  I 'was  employed  at  the 
manufacturing  of  hats,  was  punished  but  twice,  and  got  along  as  com- 
fortably and  pleasantly  as  could  be  expected,  while  in  confinement  and 
subjected  to  the  restraints  of  rigid  rules  and  regulations.  During  my 
confinement,  I  enjoyed  an  opportunity  of  reading  many  books,  princi- 
pally of  a  moral  and  rehgious  character,  attended  the  Sunday  School, 
and  daily  morning  and  evening  services  in  the  chapel. 

On  the  17th  December,  1832,  after  receiving  kind  advice  and  the 
best  wishes  of  the  chaplain  and  warden  I  was  discharged.  The  war- 
den was  unwell  at  the  time  and  sent  for  me  to  visit  him  at  his  house, 
which  is  situated  in  the  front  yard  of  the  prison.  He  conversed  with 
me  for  about  half  an  hour,  endeavoring  to  persuade  me  to  be  honest  and 
obtain  a  living  by  honest  industry.  I  remarked  that  it  was  doubtful 
what  course  I  should  pursue,and  that  it  was  hard  to  leave  off  old  tricks. 
In  fact,  I  did  not  intend  to  lead  an  honest  life. 


I  was  furnished  with  four  dollars  and  a  good  suit  of  clothes,  which, 
together  with  the  sum  of  eight  dollars  and  a  half,  which  1  carried  to 
the  Prison,  was  all  the  money  I  received  on  being  discharged  from  this 
place.  I  was  now  once  more  at  liberty,  and  free  to  roam  the  world 
over.  But  I  did  not  go  out  of  Prison  with  feehngs  of  a  moral  charac- 
ter, by  any  means.  I  was  determined  to  take  any  course  that  would 
most  easily  and  readily  fill  my  pockets. 

On  the  day  of  my  discharge  from  Prison,  I  purchased,  at  a  hard 
ware  store,  a  pair  of  pistols,  of  six  inch  barrel,  and  gave  five  dollars  for 
them;  and  on  the  second  day,  purchased  powder  and  lead,  and  mould- 
ed balls  for  my  pistols.  I  also  exchanged  the  clothes  furnished  me  by 
the  government  of  the  Prison,  for  a  different  suit,  at  an  old  clothes 
shop,  and  commenced  boarding  with  an  old  acquaintance. 

On  the  second  night  after  my  discharge,  I  proceeded  to  Brighton,and 
watched  the  travellers  on  the  road  and  remained  until  ten  or  eleven  P. 
M.  and  returned  to  the  city,  not  finding  a  good  chance  to  do  anything. 
Next  day  I  walked  around  the  city,  and  did  not  go  on  the  road  again 
until  the  next  Saturday  night,  December  21st,  1837  ;  the  weattier 
being  unpleasant  most  of  the  time.  On  that  day  I  went  to  Roxbury, 
about  sunset,  stationed  myself  near  the  woods,  in  the  turnpike  leading 
to  Dedham.  I  wore  an  olive  green  straight  bodied  coat,  and  had  on  a 
hat  and  a  camblet  cloak  with  a  standing  collar,  over  my  inside  gar- 
ments. About  half  an  hour  past  sunset,  I  observed  a  wagon  coming 
from  the  direction  of  Boston  or  Roxbury  street,  travelling  towards  Ded- 
ham. I  was  then  moving  towards  the  city.  On  the  wagon  passing 
rae,  leyed  the  man  who  was  driving,  pretty  close,  and  wag*  at  a  stand 
whether  to  stop  him  or  not,  as  he  did  not  have  the  appearance  of  one 
who  would  be  likely  to  have  much  money  about  him.  On  looking 
more  carefully,  however,  I  discovered,  Vv'hat  I  took  to  be  dry  goods,  and 
then  concluded  he  Vv\is  a  country  store  keeper.  Upon  this,  I  ran  be- 
hind the  wagon  until  it  reached  the  foot  of  the  hill,  which  it  was  then 
descending  ;  on  its  arrival  at  this  point,  I  went  alongside  and  requested 
the  man  to  give  me  a  ride?  he  answered  "  well  I  dont  know.  "  I  then 
seized  the  reins,  and  taking  out  one  of  my  pistols,  demanded  his 
money  or  his  life  :  he  looked  with  apparent  astonisment,  and  as 
though  he  would  have  said,  you  must  be  deranged.  I  repeated  the  de- 
mand. Turning  pale,  and  apparently  much  frightened,  he  said  with 
a  trembling  voice,  "  well  you  may  have  it.  "  He  made  a  mistake,  and 
put  his  hand  into  the  pocket  containing  silver  change — observing  it, 
I  remarked,  "  your  pocket  book,  sir ;  "  upon  which  he  put  his  hand  in- 
to another  pocket,  and  reached  me  his  pocket  book — much  agitated. — 
I  was  in  some  haste,  having  perceived  a  man  approaching,  and  only 
about  twelve  rods  distant.  He  vv^as  descending  the  hill  towards  the  val- 
ley. I  received  the  money,  however,  before  he  came  up.  As  he  near- 
ed  the  wagon,  I  stepped  back,  and  he  passed  betv/een  myself  and  the 
person  in  the  w{igon.  After  the  man  on  foot  passed,  I  stepped  on  one 
side  of  the  road,  and  told  the  man  1  had  robbed  to  drive  on,  wiiich  he 
did,  without  making  any  remarks.  I  tarried  a  short  time  to  watch  his 
movements.     He  drove  to  the  top  of  the  hill  quite  fast,  and  then  looked 

20         *  LIFE    OF    WALTON, 

back.  I  then  started  upon  the  run,  and  soon  came  up  with  the  man  on 
foot,  who  had  gained  some  distance  ahead — not  certain  that  he  did  not 
suspect  my  business  with  the  riian  in  tiie  wagon,  I  walked  alongside  of 
him,  and  remarked  that  it  was  a  pleasant  evening — he  answered  with 
a  regular  voice,  and  said  ''  yes.  "  I  passed  him  and  reached  the  city 
in  about  twenty  or  thirty  minutes  ;  having  ran  nearly  all  the  way, 
being,  naturally,  very  swift  on  the  foot.  I  did  not  use  a  horse  on  that 
day  or  night  :  having  walked  out  and  ran  back.  In  fact,  1  had  not, 
up  to  that  time,  nor  did  1  until  the  Monday  following,  hire  a  horse  of 
Mr.  Symonds,  or  of  any  other  person  from  the  day  I  left  the  State 
Prison.  On  returning  to  my  boarding  house,  1  privately  examined  the 
pockiit  book,  and  found  sixty  dollars  in  good  bank  bills,  a  counterfiet 
three  dollar  bill,  oa  the  Washington  Wesley  Bank — of  what  Slate  I 
did  not  notice  ;  and  also  a  note  of  hand,  the  writing  of  which  was 
nearly  obliterated.  As  I  could  not  discover  the  names  on  the  note,  I 
burnt  it  up,  together  with  the  spurious  bill  and  the  pocket  book. 

In  order  to  get  the  bills  I  had  obtained  off  my  hands,  I  purchased 
some  articles  of  clothing,  and  had  the  remainder  changed  for  other 
money  ;  so,  that  in  the  course  of  two  hours,  I  had  not  a  dollar  remain- 
ing of  the  bills  I  took  from  Mr.  Boyden,  the  person  robbed.  Next 
morning,  Sunday,  I  was  informed  of  the  robbery  of  Mr.  Boyden,  on 
the  Dsdham  Turnpike.  I  merely  made  a  little  enquiry  as  to  the  cir- 
cumstances, being  of  opinion,  that,  in  such  cases,  the  least  there  is  said, 
the  better  for  the  guilty.  I  called  at  the  guard  room  of  the  State 
Prison  the  same  morning,  and  handed  the  Warden  a  book,  which  1 
had  promised  to  leave  for  one  of  the  convicts.  I  have  since  learnt  that 
the  robbery  committed  the  night  before,  had  not  been  heard  of  at  the 
Prison.  I  presumed  they  would  suspect  me  when  they  heard  of  the 
affair,  and  therefore  went  over  early  in  the  morning.'  On  Monday 
morning,  called  at  Mr.  Symonds'  stable,  hired  a  good  saddle  horse,  and 
gave  my  nameBurley  Grove  ;  told  him  1  was  a  drover,  and  was  going 
to  Brighton  to  see  about  some  cattle. 

In  Cambridge,  I  called  on  a  young  man  who  had  been  a  convict  in 
prison,  and  after  conversing  with  him  about  half  an  hour  pro::eeded  to 
Brighton.  It  was  rather  a  dull  day  and  not  much  doing.  I  saw 
Mr  H.  the  contractor  for  supplying  rations  at  the  prison:  concluding 
he  had  not  much  money,  thought  it  not  worth  while  to  talk  with  him; 
in  fact,  I  saw  no  one  whom  I  thought  worth  following,  and  therefore 
returned  the  horse  to  the  stable  in  the  city  and  paid  for  the  use  of  him. — 
I  handed  the  money  to  Mr  Symonds  personally,  who  remarked,  that 
he  should  like  to  have  ms  call  whenever  1  wanted  a  horse. 

I  remained  pretty  quiet  several  days,  merely  looking  around  the 
market  and  noticing  the  proceedings  of  the  market  men  and  others 
to  ascertain  if  any  one  had  money. 

One  day,  observing  a  man  with  his  pocket  book  open,  paying  away 
money,  and  finding  he  had,  apparently,  a  large  sum  on  hand,  in  bank 
bills,  I  enquired  of  those  near  by,  who  he  was;  and  ascertained,  by 
their  answers,  wdio  he  was  and  where  he  belonged.  In  the  afternoon, 
I  hired,    of  Mr  Symonds,   the  same   beast    I  rode  on  Monday — the 


Harriet  mare,  and  went  to  Watertown.  In  the  eJge  of  the  evening,  I 
began  to  return  towards  the  city,  and  finaly  slopped,  as  near  as  I  can 
recollect,  by  the  Arsenal,  secured  my  horse  in  a  small  piece  of  woods. — 
In  about  two  hours  three  or  four  wagons,  near  together,  made  their 
appearance  on  the  road.  The  one  I  was  looking  out  for,  was  in  the 
rear  and  drawn  l)y  two  horses. 

The  wagons  were  heavy  loaded,  and  therefore  moved  moderately 
along  and  particularly  while  ascending  a  rising  ground  in  front  of 
where  I  lay.  I  approached  the  man  driving  the  horses,  and  presenting 
a  pistol  demanded,  his  money  or  his  life.  Upon  this  a  man  from  the 
rear  of  the  wagon,  the  same  person  1  had  seen  with  the  money  in  the 
morning,  came  towards  me  and  asked  what  was  the  matter.  The 
driver  informed  him  I  was  going  to  rob  him.  He  then  ran  towards 
the  wagons,  hallooing,  ''here  is  a  man  got  a  pistol." 

The  driver  then  handed  me  his  wallet.  I  had  mistaken  the  man  I 
was  looking  after,  from  whom  I  was  in  hopes  of  obtaining  the  pocket 
book,    ■ 

After  receiving  the  wallet,  I  ordered  the  man  to  pass  on,  went  into 
the  woods,  mounted  my  horse  and    rode  home  to  the  city. 

On  examining  the  contents  of  the  wallet,  1  found  but  sixer  seven 
dollars.  After  burning  the  wallet  I  got  the  money  exchanged.  About 
Christmas,!  fell  in  with  a  man  then  recently  discharged  from  Prison. — 
We  agreed  to  make  an  effort  to  introduce  some  tobacco  into  the  Pri- 
son. We  found  a  boat  on  the  north  side  of  the  wall,  in  which  we 
conveyed  ourselves  to  the  Prison  wharf,  on  the  south  side;  and  I 
deposited  the  tobacco,  rolled  up  in  a  newspaper  in  the  barn,  in  a  chest 
used  for  keeping  the  meal  for  the  oxen.  In  the  bundle  I  deposited  two 
small  pieces  of  paper  on  each  of  which  was  written  information  for  the 
benefit  of  several  of  my  friends  in  Prison. 

The  articles  I  have  since  understood,  were  found  by  an  officer  the 
next  morning,  and  the  contents  of  the  written  papers  were  used  -on  my 
first  trial  at  Dedham  for  highway  robbery.  On  our  retm*n  with  the 
boat  the  tide  had  fallen  so  much,  that  we  were  obliged  to  leave  it  far 
below  the  place  from  whence  we  took  it.  The  situation  of  the  boat, 
I  afterwards  learnt,  was  cause  of  suspicion  on  the  part  of  the  warden, 
that  it  had  been  used  by  the  persons  who  lodged  the  tobacco  in  the 
barn  of  the  Prison.  This  offence,  depositing  prohibited  articles  on  the 
premir3esoftlie  Prison,  with  intent  that  the  convicts  may  receive  them, 
is,  by  statute,  punishable  by  confinement  and  hard  labor  two  years  in 
State  Prison. 

A  few  days  after  this  affair,  while  at  a  cabinet  maker's  shop  in 
Cambridge  street  I  met  with  a  man  by  the  name  of  Wade, then  recently 
discharged  from  the  State  Prison.  He  remarked  that  he  was  acquainted 
in  the  town  of  Foster,  R.  I.  and  that  there  was  a  Bank  in  that  town 
which  might  in  his  opinion,  be  easily  entered.  He  wanted  me  to  go 
with  him  and  make  an  attempt.  I  did  not  care  much  about  going 
with  him,  for  I  never  was  pleased  with  tlie  looks  of  the  fellow;  how- 
ever I  thought  I  was  able  to  take  care  of  myself,  but  concluded,  if 
Wade  should  be  apprehended,  he  would    tell  all    he   knew  in  a  shoit 

22  LIFE    OF   WALTON, 

As  he  urged  me  very  hard,  I  finally  consented  to  join  liim  in  the 
expedition.  Wade  was  boarding  at  the  tinTe  at  Alden's,  I  think,  in 
Dedham;  and  I  agreed  to  meet  him  the  next  day  at  that  pi  ice,  which 
I  did.  He  hired  a  horse  and  wagon  in  Dedham,  and  we  rode  the 
first  day,  to  a  town  beyond  Providence,  and  the  succeeding  day  arrived 
at  Foster.  We  had  obtained  a  twenty  dollar  bill  which  we  intended 
to  get  exchanged  at  the  Bank  in  Foster,  and  which  by  so  doing,  would 
ofiler  an  opportunity  of  observing  the  state  of  the  Banking  room,  vault 
and  accessible  points  of  the  building.  It  so  happened  however,  that 
at  the  time  of  our  visit,  the  cashier  vv'as  under  the  necessity,  from  illness 
of  transacting  the  Bank  business  at  his  private  residence.  On  examin- 
ing the  Bimking  house  outside,  and  finding  it  was  unfavourably  lo- 
cated to  ensure  success  m  an  attempt  toentcrjt  forcibly,  we  relinquished 
the  object,  returned  to  Providence,  and  put  up  at  Wakefield's  tavern, 
over  Simday  and  until  Pvlonda}', 

On  Sunday,  v^'e  fell  in  with  several  discharged  convicts  from  the 
Massachusetts  State  Prison;  one  of  whom  told  Wade  he  believed  I  was 
the  person  who  had  committed  the  robberies  near  Boston.  He  had 
been  in  the  State  Prison  at  Concord  N.  H.  and  knew  me  well. 

On  Monday,  we  returned  to  Dedham,  and  I  was  anxious  to  secure 
an  opportunity  of  proceeding  directly  to  Boston  without  delay,  and 
oftered  the  stage-man,  who  was  going  in  with  a  private  party,  one 
dollar,  vrhich  was  doiible  the  usual  price  as  I  understood,  to  take  me 
on  with  him  at  the  time,  but  he  declined  for  the  reason  that  the  stage 
was  expressly  taken  up  for  the  occasion,  by  a  private  party. 

I  put  up  at  Alden's  Tavern,  and  retired  to  my  chamber  for  the 
night,  between  nine  and  ten  P.  M.  Between  the  hours  of  eleven  and 
twelve,  I  think  it  v\'as,  I  was  awaked  by  the  ringing  of  bells,  and  con- 
cluded it  was  an  alarm  of  fire.  Being  a  stranger  in  tlie  place,  I  did 
not,  at  first,  get  up;  but  on  seeing  the  liglit  from  the  fire  i  arose,  dres- 
sed and  proceeded  to  the  bar  room,  and  was  informed  by  a  female 
present,  tliat  Bride's  Stables  were  on  fire.  Until  I  saw  the  fire  from 
the  window  of  the  bar  room,  I  did  not  know  where  those  stables  were 
or  in,  v\diat  direction  tliey  lay  from  my  lodging    place. 

During  the  ride  froni  and  to  Foster,  R.  I.  Wade  conversed  with  me 
relative  to  the  burning  of  Bride's  Stables,  a  year  or  more  previous  to 
that  time.  From  his  remarks,  I  was  well  satisfied  that  he  was  the 
author  of  the  fire,  and  from  his  remark  at  that  time,  respecting  the 
rebuilding  of  the  Stables,  and  that  they  were  ready  to  be  burnt  again, 
I  also  concluded  that  he  communicated  the  fire  on  the  occasion  when 
I  was  present  in  Dedham.  For  niyself,  I  had  nothing  to  do  with 
the  transaction.  I  never  forme  1  any  plivn  of  the  kind,  nor  did  [ever 
have  any  conversation  respecting  the  burning  of  those  Stables  with 
any  person  except  Wade. 

I  never  communicated  fire  to  any  building,  or  any  fire,  with  inten- 
tion to  burn  a  building,  except  t!ie  jail  in  Exeter,  which  building, 
however,  I  did  not  intend  to  destroy.  On  the  morning  succeeding 
the  night  in  which  tbe  Stables  were  burnt,  I  started  early  and  walk- 
ing past  the  scene  of  the  fire,  projceded  on  foot  to    Boston. 



A  day  or  Uvo  after  my  return  fi'orn  Foster,  I  observed  a  market  man 
with  a  pocket  book,  apparently  well  filled  with  bank  bills.  I  made 
enquiry  respecting  him,  and  concluded  he  would  go  to  Chelsea  that 
evening,  where  he  resided.  In  the  hope  of  falling  in  with  him,  I  hired 
the  Harriet  mare,  of  Mr.  Symonds,  giving  him  to  understand  that  I 
was  going  to  Brighton  ;  instead  of  which,  1  crossed  in  the  Ferry  Boat 
to  Chelsea,  and  rode  as  far  as  Lynn,  returning  back  to  Chelsea  in  the 
edge  of  the  evening,  about  the  time  1  presumed  the  man  I  was  in  pur- 
suit of,  would  be  on  the  road  home.  I  secured  my  horse  in  a  lane, 
threw  my  cloak  over  him,  to  prevent  his  color  being  observed  and 
known,  and  took  a  station  behind  a  fence  on  the  Salem  Turnpike, 
about  a  mile  and  a  half  distant  from  Chelsea  Bridge.  After  waiting 
nearly  two  hours,  a  covered  w'agon  passed,  but  I  did  not  go  near  it. — ■ 
Finally,  the  wagon  I  was  looking  out  for,  came  along,  and  it  contained 
two  men,  one  of  whom  was  the  person  I  had  seen  in  the  market  dur- 
ing the  day.  I  recognized  him  by  his  dress.  I  immediately  walked 
from  my  position  to  the  wagon,  seized  the  reins  of  the  bridle,  presented 
my  pistol  and'demanded  "his  money  or  his  life.  "  At  this  moment, 
the  other  man,  a  stranger  to  me,  sprang  out  of  the  wagon  and  ran 
off — entering  the  same  lane  where  my  horse  was  tied.  I  immediately 
advanced  towards  the  man  who  remained  in  the  wagon,  Mr.  John 
Fenno,  jr,  and  as  1  neared  him,  he  sprang  towards  me,  seizing  me  by 
the  shoulders  ;  I  stepped  back  a  little,  to  give  him  a  chance  to  reach 
the  ground,  which  I  presumed  was  his  intention.  We  struggled  a 
short  time,  and  I  began  to  think  he  was  attempting  to  hold  me,  and 
that  his  partner  Mr.  Payson,  was  after  my  horse.  As  I  could  not  well 
clear  myselfof  him,  I  endeavored  to  fire  my  pistol  near  his  ear,  not 
intending,  however,  to  kill  him  ]  but  did  not  much  care  whether  I 
shot  of  a  part  of  his  ear  or  net. 

The  pistol  was  discharged  rather  sooner  than  I  intended,  and 
when  I  had  elevated  it  about  as  high  as  his  breast.  The  man  ap- 
peared some  frightened  and  fell,  as  I  thought,  on  his  back.  I  conclud- 
ed he  was  shot  through  the  breast.  I  thought,  on  his  attacking  me, 
that  I  had  a  different  man  to  deal  with  from  any  I  had  previously  met 
on  the  highway.  After  he  fell,  I  ran  to  the  place  where  my  horse  was 
secured,  mounted  and  rode  back  a  short  distance  to  ascertain  what  was 
the  situation  of  the  man  I  had  fired  upon.  On  observing  him  rise  up, 
I  concluded  he  v/as  not  much  injured,  and  felt,  therefore,  quite  pleased. 
I  have  since  learnt,  tiiat  the  ball  grazed  the  lower  part  of  the  right 
breast,  but  did  not  go  through  the  skin  ;  causing,  however,  rather  a 
severe  shock  at  the  time,  and  a  consequent  recoil  of  my  opponent.  I 
immediatelw  rode  to  the  city,  returned  my  horse  to  the  stable,  paid  for 
the  use  of  him  and  returned  to  my  boarding  house.  I  thought  but 
little,  if  anything,  more  of  this  affair,  than  of  others  of  a  similar  charact- 
er which  I  had  been  engaged  in.  A  reward  of  one  hundred  dollars  was 
offered  for  the  apprehension  of  the  man  who  attempted  the  robbery. — 
Notwithstanding  this,  I  remained  in  the  city,  though  I  was  inactive  for 
.  several  days.  I  was  not  aware  of  being  suspected.  [He  was  suspect- 
ed, however,  by  an  officer  -of  the  Prison,  an  acquaintance  of  Mr.  Fen- 

24  LIFE    OP    WALTON, 

no's,  who  soon  called  on  Mr.  F.  and  after  receiving  a  description  of  the 
man,  gave  it  as  his  opinion,  that  the  viHian  was  no  otlier  than  George 
Walton,  and  urged  Mr.  Fenno  to  take  every  necessary  measure  to  en- 
sure his  arrest  ;  knowing  that  he  was  a  bold,  daring  and  reckless  fel- 
low, and  a  very  dangerous  man  to  be  at  large  in  the  community.] 

A  k\v  days  after  my  aflliir  with  Mr  Fenno,  John  Wade,  as  I  have 
since  been  informed,  communicated  his  suspicions  as  to  the  robber  of 
Mr.  Boyden,  to  a  person  of  his  acquaintance,  residing  in  Dedhain  ; — 
upon  which,  they  came  to  Boston,  and  Wade  sought  out  my  boarding 
house,  which  at  that  time  was  in  West  Boston,  and  conducted  the  man 
to  it.  Discovering,  from  a  window,  the  approach  of  Wade,  with  a 
stranger  in  company,  I  left  the  house,  requesting  the  persons  within, 
if  any  one  called  for  me,  to  say  that  I  did.  not  board  there, — they  were 
so  informed,  and  went  off.  I  sliorlly  after  returned  to  the  house  again. 
The  evening  of  the  next  day.  Wade  made  another  call  at  the  house  and 
found  me  at  home.  Requesting  a  privaie  interview,  we  retired  to  a 
private  room  together.  Here  he  proposed  a  plan  for  making  a  "raise" 
— said  he  was  short  of  funds,  and  thought  a  store,  v.'hich  he  mention- 
ed, situated  on  India  street  could  be  entered,  and  that  we  might  suc- 
ceed in  obtaining  a  large  quantity  of  money,  wliich,  he  had  been  in- 
formed, was  deposited  there  ;  and  that  the  clerk  of  the  store  would 
participate  in  the  undertaking. 

The  interview  resulted  in  an  agreement  to  make  an  effort,  and  we 
decided  to  have  a  horse  and  sleigh  in  readiness  for  the  occasion. 

Wade,  doubtless,  thought  he  had  laid  a  fine  trap  in  which  he  intend- 
ed I  should  be  second. 

He  did  not  think,  I  presume,  that  I  suspected  his  motives  and  object. 
I  agreed,  to  be  sure,  to  accompany  him  ;  but  had  no  intentions  of  ful- 
filling my  agreement.  On  his  taking  leave  at  the  door  of  my  board- 
ing house,  I  went  immediately  into  my  sleeping  room,  secured  my 
clothing,  and  entering  the  house  next  to  that  in  which  we  had  the  in- 
terview together,  took  a  good  position  for  observing  his  movements.  In 
about  half  an  hour,  he  made  his  appearance,  accompanied  by  several 
of  the  police  officers  and  other  [)eisons.  The  house  was  surrounded 
and  every  part  of  the  premises  searched,  as  I  was  aftervv'ards  informed, 
but  they  did  not  succeed  in  obtaining  their   object. 

Finding  I  was  suspected,  I  began  to  make  preparations  to  leave  the 
city.  I  found  a  vessel  bound  to  the  West  Indies,and  bargained  with  the 
captain  to  take  me  as  a  passenger,  advanced  twenty-five  dollars  of  my 
passage  money — placed  some  of  my  articles  on  hoard  and  returned  to 
nay  boarding  house  in  Butolph  street,  for  the  remainder.  As  the 
vessel  was  ready  and  was  to  sail  in  a  very  few  minutes,  I  ran  to  the 
house,  began  collecting  the  remaining  articles  of  my  property — when 
in  about  ten  minutes,  several  of  the  police  officers  entered  the  house 
and  secured  me  without  much  diliicult\^  My  pistols  were  secured 
at  the  time,  in  an  out  house  or  stable,  and  I  had  therefore  no  means 
of  defence.  I  was  confined  in  jail,  and  next  day  was  examined  and 
bound  over  for  trial,  for  attempting  to  rob  Mr  Fenno,  and  also  for 
robbing  Mr  Boyden  on  the  Dedham  Turnpike.     Not  being  able  to 



give  snieties,  I  was  comroitled  accordingly.  I  made  no  effort  while 
in  jail  to  elTect  my  escape.  On  the  21st  of  February,  IBS'!,  I 
was  convicted  and  sentenced  lo  confinement  and  hard  labor  in  the 
State  Prison  for  twenty  years,  for  atlempling  to  rob  Mr.  Fenno  ; — 
and  was  commiltted  to  (he  State  Prison,  at  Charlestown,  on  the 
same  day  pursuant  to  sentence.  I  was  now  in  the  State  Prison 
again,  after  the  short  period  of  seventy  three  days  from  the  time  of 
my  first  discharge  therefrom.  I  was  put  to  w^ork  at  shoe  making, 
and  was  continued  in  this  employment  until  after  I  was  indicted  by 
the  Grand  Jury  for  Suffolk  County,  for  robbing  Mr.  Boyden.  It  ap- 
pearing evident  to  the  Government  of  the  Prison  that  1  w'as  concert- 
ing measures  to  effect,  if  possible,  my  escape ;  I  was,  on  the  day  1  in- 
tended making  an  effort,  taken  from  the  yard,  and  placed  in  close  con- 
finement, in  a  cell  in  the  second  arch,  west  wing  of  the  old  Prison. — 
The  object  in  placing  me  there,  was  to  keep  me  away  from  any  pos- 
sible intercourse  with  other  convicts,  and  particularly  those  with  whom 
1  had  been  intimate  at  Concord,  N.  H. ;  who  sympathized  in  my  situa- 
tion ;  being  under  an  indictn;ent  for  a  capital  offence. 

While  in  my  cell,  before  trial  for  the  robbery  of  Mr.  Boyden,  there 
was  a  short  time,  when  i  felt  that  I  had  as  lief  die  as  live  in  confine- 
ment, and  therefore  formed  a  plan  for  terminating  my  existence.  J  in- 
serted a  piece  of  iron  into  a  small  drill  hole,  made  when  the  stot'.e  was 
quarried,  and  fastened  to  it  my  suspenders  ; — having  fixed  a  noose, 
I  placed  it  around  my  neck,  mounted  on  my  bucket  and  swung  off". — 
I  felt  no  sensation  of  pain,  and  knew  nothing  until  I  found  myself 
lajMng  upon  the  floor  of  the  cell.  I  found,  on  recovering  my  strength 
su  flSciently  to  rise,  that  my  suspender  parted  and  I  fell  to  the  "floor — ani- 
malion  not  having  been  entirely  suspended,  I  came  too,  and  found 
myself  in  the  situation  described.  I  cursed  my  hard  fate,  and  thought 
of  making  another  attempt  to  destroy  myself;  but  having  no -con- 
venience then,  I  concluded  to  give  it  up  for  that  time.  I  began  to 
think,  too,  the  breaking  of  my  suspender  a  good  omen  :  for  I  had  pre- 
viously tried  its  strength,  and  found  it  would  sustain  my  weight,  and 
hoped,  therefore,  that  some  good  luck  might  be  in  store  for  me  in  the 
future,  and  that  possibly  I  might  succeed  in  effecting  my  escape  from 
Prison.  On  being  put  into  close  confinement,  I  was  told  that  such 
measures  \vould  be  taken,  to  ensure  my  safe  keeping,  that  it  would 
be  scarcely  possible  to  eff'ect  an  escape  ;  and  therefore  I  had  better  re- 
main peaceable  and  quiet. 

I  was  placed  under  the  especial  care  and  supervision  of  the  Deputy 
Warden,  who  was,  if  possible  to  be  always  present  when  my  cell  was 
to  be  imfastened — one  of  the  under  officers  was  also  present  on  these 
occasions;  and  if  the  object  was  to  give  me  food,  change  the  utensils 
in  my  cell  or  sweep  it  out,  a  convict  was  employed  under  the  eye  of 
the  otficer  to  parform  that  duty.  If  I  was  permitted  to  exercise  in  the 
arch,  into  which  my  cell  opened,  an  officer  was  also  with  me,  and 
usually  kept  a  strict  eye  on  all  my  movements.  In  order  to  render  my 
situation  the  more  secure,  I  was  removed,  alternately,  every  twenty  four 
hours,  from  one  cell  to  another  ;  two  cells,  in  particular,  being  fitted  up 


26  LIFE    OP    WALTON, 

for  my  especial  accommodation.  The  cells  in  the  arch  were  seltIomx)c- 
cupied  ;  and  never,  I  think,  while  I  was  in  close  confinement — so  that 
1  was  aione,  except  when  visited  by  the  Warden,  the  Chaplain,  or 
some  one  of  the  officers  designated  to  furnish  my  supply  of  food,  look 
after  my  safety,  or  for  some  other  purpose.  The  object  in  fitting  up 
two  cells  for  my  use,  was  to  afford  a  good  opportunity  to  inspect  the 
vacant  one,  and  also  to  afford  me,  by  the  change,  fresh  and  wholesome 
air.  Under  an  arrangement  of  so  rigid  a  character,  it  would  seem  to 
have  been  the  extreme  of  folly  to  attempt  an  escape,  more  especially, 
as  1  was  informed  that  any  proceedings  on  my  part  for  attaining  such 
an  object  would  lead  to  more  severe  and  rigorous  measures  for  my  se- 
curity. In  this  situation  I  remained  some  lime  quiet,  thinking  over, 
however,  various  plans  and  expedients  for  regaining  my  liberty. 

Though  very  closely  watched  at  all  limes,  and  especially  whenever 
my  cell  door  was  opened,  yet,  I  began  to  think  an  escape  possible. 

After  a  careful  examination  of  my  cell,  I  discovered  that  the  v^alls 
of  the  old  Prison  were  not  so  well  constructed  as  those  of  the" new  build- 
ing, which  is  now  the  place  of  confinement  for  ail  the  convicts  out  of 
the  Hospital.  Tools,  however,  were  necessary  to  ensure  success  in 
any  attempt  to  break  out — nothing,  in  fact,  could  be  accomplished 
without  them,  and  as  none  were  within  my  reach,  how  to  obtain  them 
was  the  important  question.  One  day,  while  enjoying  my  walk  in  the 
arch  for  exercise,  accompanied  by  the  officer,  as  usual,  I  succeeded  by 
a  rapid  movement,  unobservetl  by  the  officer,  in  disengaging  from  a 
cell  door,  one  of  the  fastenings,  and  threw  it  on  to  r'ny  hamniock  ; — 
shortly  after,  1  stepped  into  my  cell  and  was  locked  up.  The  article 
secured  was  a  piece  of  iron,  which,  though  crooked,  yet  was  calculat- 
ed lobe  of  considerable  service  to  me.  The  iron  was  not  missed,  as 
the  door  to  which  it  belonged  was  seldom  fastened.  I  found  means 
to  secure  the  iron  in  such  a  way  as  to  keep  it  from  the  eye  of  the  in- 
specting officer.  Having  made  all  arrangements  within  my  power,  on 
the  night  of  the  13th — I4lh  of  Sept'r,  1S34,  I  made  a  final  effort  and 
succeeded  in  moving  a  heavy  stone,  which  was  supposed  to  be  well  se- 
cured by  irons,  &c.,  by  moving  it  nearly  half  its  length  into  my  cell, 
and  forcing  it  on  one  side  sufficiently  to  fill  up  the  opening  for  light 
and  air  to  my  cell — by  so  doing,  I  had  a  passage  for  my  body  about 
nine  inches  wide,  and  twenty  two  inches  in  height — the  stone  filling 
the  space  between  the  two  small  openings  for  the  admission  of  light 
and  air.  Through  this  space  of  twenty  two  by  nine  inches,  I  passed 
into  the  yard,  succeeded  in  obtaining  an  old  great  coat  to  protect  me 
from  the  observation  of  any  one  I  might  meet  on  the  road  ;  crossed 
one  of  the  bridges  leading  to  the  city,  and  directed  my  course  without 
delay,  to  the  house  of  an  acquaintance  residing  at  West  Boston,  where 
T  was  readily  supplied  with  money  and  clothing. 

In  a  short  time  I  crossed  Craigie's  bridge  to  Cambridge.  The  toll- 
man was  apparently  asleep  at  the  time,  and  I  reached  Lexington  be- 
fore daylight,  where  I  secreted  myself  in  the  woods,  and  remained 
during  the  day, — apprehending  1  should  be  closely  pursued. 

In  ihe  evening  I  recommenced  my  journey  passing  through. Concord, 
Harvard  and  to  Lancasler,wherel  rested  in  the  woods  during  the  day, 


and  within  hearing  of  ihe  old  town  clock,  which  had  sounded  so  often 
in  my  ears  when  a  boy.  Many  incidents  and  associations  of  that 
interesting  period  of  life  were  brought  to  mind  as  I  lay  ruminating  on 
the  past,  reflecting  on  the  present  and  speculating  on  the   future. 

While  passing  through  Harvard  I  entered  a  house  the  door  of  which 
was  not  fastened, and  found  some  bread,  butter,and  cheese.  After  eatiiig 
what  I  wanted,!  threw  the  fragments  on  to  the  wood  pile  and  travelled 
on.  The  inmates  of  the  house  did  not  discover  me  nor  know  that  I 
was  about  their  premises. 

From  the  position  selected  as  my  resting  place  in  Jjancaster,  I  could 
see  several  horses  feeding  in  a  pasture:  about  ten  P.  M.  I  caught  one 
of  them,  went  to  the  house,  near  b}'',  obtained  a  saddle  and  bridle  and 
rode  until  near  day  light.  I  then  entered  a  house,  found  some  grain 
for  the  horse  and  food  for  myself,  unseen  by  the  occupant,  and  rode  on 
again  until  I  discovered  a  good  situation  in  the  woods  for  resting  dur- 
ing the  day.  In  this  way,  riding  nights  and  resting  days,  I  travelled 
about  two'  hundred  m  lies  taking  the  route  through  Keene  N.  H. 
towards  Vergennes,  Vt,  and  obtaining  food  for  myself  and  provender 
for  my  horse,  without  much  expense  on  my  part.  - 

On  the  road,  I  exchanged' my  horse  for  another,  and  received  forty 
dollars  for  the  difference  in  value,  after  which  I  commenced  travelling 
in  the  open  day  and  shortly  reaehed  Burlington,  Vt.  at  which  place 
I  broke  a  store  and  obtained  sixty  dollars,  but  took  no  goods. 

At  Burlington,  I  sold  my  horse  for  thirty  dollars,  and  proceeded,  on 
foot,  to  St  Albans,  walking  nights  and  resting  during  the  day.  From 
St.  Albans,  1  went  to  Swanton  Falls,  where  I  also  broke  a  store  and 
found  ninety-six  dollars,  in  money,  and  supplied  myself  with  many 
articles  of  clothing,  suitable  for  the  approaching  cold  season.  1  now 
entered  Lower  Canada,  and  proceeded  direct  to  Monrreal,  at  which 
place  I  arrived  in  about  len  days  from  the  period  of  my  escape  from 
this  institution.  During  this  short  time,  I  had  done  considerable 
business;  and  besides  having  been  safely  and  comfortably  placed 
beyond  the  reach  of  my  pursuers,  I  found  myself  in  the  possession 
of  nearly  two  hundred  dollars  on  my  arrival  at  Montreal.  I  put  up  at 
a  house  called  the  Italian  Hotel,  and  remained  there  nearly  a  month 
visiting  the  Theatre,  walking  about  the  city  and  amusing  m3'self  in 
the  best  way  I  could.  Finding  however,  that  a  life  of  inactivity 
was  not  well  suited  to  my  restless  and  uneasy  disposition,  and  finding 
too,  that  my  funds  were  getting  low;  I  commenced  active  operations 
and  broke  a  store  owned  by  the  "Inland  Forwarding  Company,"  and 
obtained  ninety  dollars,  in  silver.  I  now  changed  my  residence,  and 
took  lodgings  at  a  private  house  in  the'  city  to  avoid  being  under 
suspicion,  if  possible.  I  used  my  specie  as  occasion  demanded,  and 
kept  a  good  look  out  for  chances  to  make  another  raise.  Observing 
a  man  expose  his  pocket  book  and  bank  bills  to  view,  while  in  a  public 
house,  1  entered  the  building  in  the  night,  through  a  window — in  the 
hope  of  obtaining  it.  He  had  taken  the  precaution,  however,  to  carry  it 
with  him  to  his  sleeping-room,  and  I  found  only  ten  dollars.  The  doors 
and  window  shutters,in  the  front  part  of  the  stores  in  Montreal,  are  most- 
ly covered  with  tin  or  sheet  iron, particularly  those  stores^containing  valu- 

28  LIFE    OF    WALTON, 

able  property.  Experiencing  great  difficulty  in  penetrating  this  covering 
for  their  protection,"!  found  it  necessary  to  examine  the  bad:  part  of  the 
buildings.  Here  I  observed  that  the  security  was  made  to  rest,  princi- 
pally, on  high  board  fences,  (one  of  those  that  I  scaled  was  nearly  thirty 
feet  high,  by  my  estimation),  and  that  the  windows  were  not  so  well 
guarded.  I  therefore,  generally,  made  this  part  os  the  building  my 
point  of  attack.  Driving  business  somewhat  vigorously,  the  inhab- 
itants began  to  find  that  some  person  among  them  was  getting  rather 
troublesome,  and  concluded  that  a  Yankee  or  an  Englishman,  was 
prowling  about  the  city.  Their  talk  and  fuss,  however  did  not  disturb 
me  much.  I  kepi  at  work,  and  in  the  course  of  the  five  or  six  months 
that  I  remained  in  the  place,  1  broke  and  entered  about  fifteen  stores. — 
From  many  of  them  I  obtained  but  five  or  ten  dollars,  in  others  a  lar- 
ger sum,  but  in  no  instance  over  nineiy  dollars  in  money.  My  depre- 
dations were  so  frequent  and  becaiiieso  numerous,  at  last,  that  the  peo- 
ple wereniuch  excited  on  the  subject;  and  I  often  heard  the  remark: 
"It  was  no  Canadian  that  broke  that  store,  but  a  Yankee". 
In  the  month  of  Feliruary,  one  evening  while  at  a  house,  of  no  very 
respectable  standing,  a  dress  maker  of  respectable  character,  came  in 
with  some  articles  she  had  been  making  for  a  female  resident  in  the 
dwelling.  After  receiving  her  pay  for  the  work,  an  Irishman  present 
noticing  that  the  dress  maker  appeared  to  have  considerable  money  in 
her  pocket  book,  rallied  her  on  the  subject,  and  insisted  on  her  treat- 
ing the  company  in  the  room.  To  escape  his  importunities,  the  girl 
complied  with  the  request;  after  which,  another  Irishman  thrust  his 
hand  into  her  pocketor  bag,  and  took  the  pocket  book. 

I  insisted  on  his  returning  it  to  the  owner.  He  enquired  who  I 
was,  and  was  disposed  to  bluster  at  my  remark.  I  immediately  drew 
a  pistol,  and  presenting  it  at  his  breast,  threatened  to  blow  him  through 
if  he  did  not  return  the  money  without  delay.  Upon  this  he  handed 
the  pocket  book  to  me,  and  the  girl  receiving  it  from  my  hands,  im- 
mediately left  the  house.  I  then  passed  into  another  house,  and  when 
about  retiring  from  it,  I  met  the  Irishman  who  insulted  the  dress  maker, 
at  the  foot  of  the  stairs,  with  a  sharp  pointed  shoe  makers'  knife  in 
bis  hand,  which,  without  saying  a  word,  he  plunged  into  my  head, 
back  of  my  left  ear,  and  cutting  the  ear  some  in  its  passage.  At  first 
I  thought  he  struck  me  with  his  fist,  and  therefore  drew  a  pistol  upon 
him,  which  he  suspecting,  immediately  darted  out  of  my  reach  ;  it  be- 
ing dark  he  succeeded  in  getting  out  of  ray  way  entirely. 

On  obtaining  a  light,  it  was  found  he  had  stabbed  me,  and  that  the 
knife  was  still  in  my  head,  having  penetrated  nearly  three  inches,  and 
was  finally  pulled  out  by  the  teeth  of  a  person  present,  the  handle  hav- 
ing slipped  off.  On  its  being  taken  out,  I  became  rather  faint,  but  soon 
revived  again  by  the  use  of  cold  water.  At  the  time  of  receiving  the 
wound  in  the  head,  I  also  received  a  sinall  wound  in  the  eye,  which 
must  have  been  caused,  I  think,  by  stumbling  against  the  edge  of  a 
counter.  1  was  perfectly  sober  at  the  time  ;  in  fact,  I  was  rarely,  if 
ever,  intoxicated  in  iny  life.  My  drink  was  usually  wine  or  strong  beer, 
principally  the  latter ;  while  in  Montreal  I  seldom  used  spirit  of  any  kind. 
I  went  directly  to  the  Medical  Hall  and  had  my  wound  examined  by 


the  ph3'sicians.  They  advised  me  to  enter  a  complaint  against  the 
Irishman;,  which  I  did  ;  and  he  was  arrested  and  committed  to  jail, 
and  reijjained  about  a  month  ;  but  as  I  did  not  appear  against  him  he 
Avas  finally  discharged. 

I  remained  under  the  care  of  the  physicians  about  three  weeks;  and 
it  was  nearly  three  weeks  before  1  was  able  to  leave  the  house.  At, 
one  period  during  liiy  illness,  my  case,  in  the  opinion  of  the  physician, 
was  considered  very  doubtful.  The  knife  took  an  oblique  direction, 
and  was  near  cutting  the  main  artery. 

In  March,  my  wound  was  sufficiently  healed  to  enable  me  to  re- 
commence operations  again. 

Having  ascertained  liow,  or  in  what  manner  I  could  dispose  of  jew- 
elry, if  some  could  be  obtained — I  accordingly  reconiioitered  a  store  for 
that  purpose  ;  and  about  half  past  eight,  P.  M.,  one  evening,  I  entered 
the  back  yard  of  a  Jewellers  store,  before  the  gate  was  closed,   and  se- 
creted myself  in  such  a  manner  as  to  remain  unobserved  by  the  occu- 
pants.    After  they  left  the  store,  and  between  eleven  and  twelve,  P.  M. 
I  succeeded  in  gaining  an  entrance  through  a  back  window,   and    pas- 
sed into  the  front  part  of  the  building,  w4ien  I  secured  and   brough] 
away  with  me,  property  to  the  amount  of  two  thousand  dollars  ;  most- 
ly in  gold  watches,  ornaments,  (fcc— Many  of  the  articles   were  tied 
up  in  my  pock'd  handkerchief,  and  when  passing  along  the   street  I 
was  hailed  by  a  watchman,  and  ordered  to  submit  my  bundle  for  ex- 
aiiMnation.     I  remarked  to  him  that  lie  might  be  a  robber ;    he  then 
informed  me  that  he  was  one  of  the  city   watchmen.     I   told    him   I 
should  not  take  his  word  for  that.     He  then  said,  I  must  see  what  you 
have  got  there.     Taking  out  a  pistol  and   placing  it  at   his  breast,    I 
threatened  to  let  him  know  what  that  contained  if  he  did  not  move  off. 
He  remarked  that  he  could  get  enough  to  take  me,  and  commenced 
hallowing  to  his  comrades,  upon  which,  I  was  soon  out  of  his  way,     I 
sooti  fotmd  the  man  who  agreed  to  take  the  propert_y,  and    bargained 
with  him  to  receive  fifty  per  cent  on  the  first  cost.     1  agreed  to  deliver 
the  property  in  Burlington,  and  he  was  to  pay  me  soon  after  he  reach- 
ed New  York,  whither  both  of  us  were  bound.  In  about  two  days  after 
robbing  the  jewelry  store,  finding  I  was  suspected,  and  that  affairs  be- 
gan to  wear  a  threatening  aspect,  I  took  measures  for  decamping — em- 
ployed an  Irishman  to  convey  me  in  a  sleigh  across  the  St.  Lawrence, 
on  the  ice  ;  after  crossing  which,  I  took  stage  for  Burlington,  giving  out 
word  that  I  was  bound  to  New  York  ;  though  my  intention  was  to  go 
to  that  place  by  way  of  Boston,    Mass.     A   reward   of  two    hundred 
pounds,  or  about  eight  hundred  dollars,  was  offered    for   the    property, 
and  apprehension  of  the  robber.     At  Burlington,  I  advised   my    friend 
to  proceed,  without  delay,  with  the  jewelry  to  New  York,  while  I  would 
take  the  direct  route  to  Boston,  and  from  thence  to  the  place  of  his  des- 
tination.    I  expected  to  be  pursued,  and  hoped   by  the   arrangements 
made,  to  secure  the  safe  arrival  of  the  property,  and    succeed,    myself, 
in  eluding  the  vigilance  of  the  Canadians,  who,  on  arriving  at  Burhng- 
ton,  would  loose  the  track  of  me.     Accordingly,  I   proceeded   by  stage 
conveyance  to  Lancaster,  my  native  place,  and  remained  at  the  house 
of  a  relative  durinff  the  niafht  of  the  28th  of  March.      Next   morning 

30  LIFE  OP    WALTON, 

being  Sunday,  I  lecoinmenced  my  journey,  and  proceeded  on  foot  to 
Stow,  or  Lincoln,  where  I  took  a  llor^■e  from  a  stable  and  rode  lo  Bos- 
ton ;  arriving  in  ihc  city  between  ihe  hours  of  nine  and  ten,  A.  M.  of 
Monday,  March  30.  1835,  and  put  up  my  horse  at  the  stable  of  a 
friend,  in  Cambridge  street,  near  West  Boston  Bridge.  On  the  road 
from  the  place  where  1  stole  the  horse,  1  lost  from  my  pocket,  one  of 
my  pistols  and  a  silver  snulfbox,  by  the  jolting  of  the  horse.  When 
I  arrived  at  the  etable,  1  was  noticed  liy  an  individual  who  had  for- 
merly known  nie,  when  together  in  the  Slate  Prison.  Hoping,  doubt- 
less, to  obtain  a  part  of  the  large  reward  offered  for  my  apprehension  and 
return  to  the  State  Prison,  he  gave  information  of  my  being  in  Boston. 
The  result  of  his  information  wa^  my  arrest,  by  a  man  from  Charies- 
fown,  who  was  on  the  look  out  for  me.  He  accomplished  his  object 
by  approaching  me  in  the  rear,  as  1  was  proceeding  from  a  s=hoptothe 
stable,  and  springing  upon  my  back,  secured  my  arms,  and  by  having 
assistance  near  at  hand,  caused  mc  to  be  conducted,  without  delay,  in 
a  close  carriage  to  this  place,  where  I  arrived  at  half  past  eleven,  A.  M. 
sameda})",  March  31,  1835.  If  I  !iad  not  been  taken  as  I  was,  I  should, 
probably,  have  left  the  city  for  the  vSouth,  in  the  course  of  twenty  min- 
utes. Finding  that  I  was  finally  taken,  and  no  prospect  of  a  succes- 
ful  resistance  presenting  itself,  I  made  up  my  mind  at  once;  to  submit 
with  as  good  a  face  as  possible. 

At  this  stage  of  the  narrative,  Walton  being  subjected  to  a  severe 
cough,  and  feeling  unable  to  continue  any  further  dictatiot>  of  the 
events  of  his  life,  requested  it  might  be  finished  by  those  to  whose  au- 
thority he  was  subjected,  and  wdio  were  in  possession  of  almost  every 
fact  of  importance  relating  to  his  life,  from  the  day  of  the  date  of  bis- 
arrest  in  March.,  and  his  return  to  Prison. 

It  appears  that  the  persons  who  proceeded  to  Boston  for  arresting 
him,  on  information  being  given  of  his  being  m  the  city,  took  a  secret 
position  on  the  scaffold  for  storing  h.ay ;  and  wdiile  there  overheard  a 
conversation  beUveen  Walton  and  a  man  formerly  a  convict  in  this 
prison.  Walton  appeared  to  be  showing  his  pistol,  and  remarked  in 
their  hearing,  u|>on  the  course  he  sh.oidd  pursue  if  any  one  attempted 
to  arrest  him.  Shortly  after  this  conversation,  he  left  the  stable,  was 
followed  and  closely  watched,  and  arrested  preity  much  as  he  himself 
described.  On  his  return  to  prison,  he  was  held  in  close  confinement 
in  one  of  the  large  cells  of  the  old  prison,  during  the  day,  and  at  night 
secured  in  a  cell  in  tlie  New  Prison,  and  had  leg  chains  secured  upon 
both  ancles.  In  this  way  he  was  confined  and  rendered  secure,  until 
after  he  had  twice  been  tried,  for  the  capital  crime  of  highway  robbery, 
before  the  Supreme  Judicial  Court  at  Dedham. 

The  first  trial  took  place  at  the  February  term,  1835,  and  the  second 
at  the  November  term,  1836,  of  that  Court.  In  neither  trial  could  the 
Jury  agree  upon  a  verdict.  While  in  confinement  in  the  Jail  at  Ded- 
ham, in  November,  Walton  made  a  desperate  efl'ort  to  effect  his  escape.' 
At  the  moment  of  his  door  being  opened  by  the  keeper,  he  sprang  for- 
ward, and  reached  the  bottom  of  the  stairs  almost  at  a  leap.  The 
keeper,  a  moil  determined  man,  followed,  and  almost  at  the  same  mo- 
ment, and  by  as  rapid  a  movement,  seated  himself  on  the  shoulders  of 


Lis  prisoner.  A  guard,  whom  the  keeper  had  taken  the  wise  precau- 
tion to  station  at  the  outer  door  of  the  Jail,  ru-hcd  in,  and  with  uphft- 
ed  musket,  appeared  in  the  act  of  bringing  its  butt  down  \ipon  the  liead 
of  tlie  prisoner.  At  this  stage  of  the  proceeding?,  Wahon  looked  up 
from  under  iiis  load  and  calmly  remarked,  "1  believe  there  has  been 
no  harm  done.  "  The  keeper  permitted  him  to  get  up,  and  returned 
him  safely  to  his  narrow  quarters,  where  he  was  confined  until  re- 
manded to  this  institution.  This  part  of  the  narrative  is  from  recollec- 
tion, as  given  by  Walton  on  his  return  to  this  place. 

It  appearing  quite  evident  that  no  further  proceedings  would  be  had 
against  Walton  on  account  of  the  robbery  of  Mr.  Boyden,  and  that 
he  woidd  not,  probably,  be  subjected  to  another  trial,  he  was  permitted 
to  go  into  the  yard,  free  from  his  cliains,-  and  was  put  to  \vork  at  hat- 
ting, his  former  business.  There  is  no  reason  to  suppose,  that  after 
his  return  from  Dedham,  on  the  4ih  ot  November,  1836,  that  he  ever 
concerted  any  measures  for  effecting  his  escape.  His  conduct,  after 
his  return;  was  generally  correct  and  obedient.  That  he  would  have 
made  further  attempts,  and  de3j)era*e  ones  two,  to  effect  his  escape,  if 
if  his  life  had  been  continued,  no  one  acquainted  with  his  determined 
character  and  daring  courage,  would  for  a  moment  doubt. 

He  often  remarked  to  the  writer,  that  bis  natural  disposition  was 
sjuch  a  restlsss  and  uneasy  character,  tliat  he  could  not  survive  a  five 
years  sentence.  He  has  been  heard  to  say,  that  if  offered  the  be?t 
farm  in  the  Commonwealth,  he  w-ould  not  accept  it  on  condition  of 
spending  his  days  upon  it. 

Walton's  health  was  generally  good,  nearly  up  to  the  6th  of  Feb- 
ruary last,  on  which  day  he  was  admitted  as  a  patient  in  the  hospital, 
affected  with  influenza — a  disease  then  extensively  prevailing  among 
the  convicts.  Notwithstanding  the  efforts  of  the  skilful  Physician  of 
the  Institution,  Walton's  disease  could  not  be  checked  :  it  finally  set- 
tled with  a  consumption,  which  terminated  his  existence  on  tjie  17ih- 
of  July,  1837. 

During  the  early  part  of  his  confinement  in  tliis  prison,  Walton 
professed  to  be  a  disbeliever  in  the  existence  of  a  Supreme  Being. — • 
He  had,  however,  too  much  good  sense  to  continue  long  lo  cherish 
such  sentiments.  Having,  in  early  life,  read  much  of  the  mfidel  senti- 
ments of  some  of  the  French  writers  on  the  subject  of  the  truths  of  the 
Christian  religion,  and  having  occasionally  attended  the  infidel  meet- 
ings of  Kneeland,  his  mind  was  deeply  imbued  with  the  poison  ema- 
nating from  those  sources.  He  long  entertained  the  dark  notion  of 
the  eternal  annihilation  of  the  soul  after  death  ;  and  it  was  not  until 
a  few  days  prior  to  his  decease,  that  brighter  and  more  correct  views 
flashed  across  his  fading  vision.  At  one  period,  he  believed  nothing 
of  Scripture  but  what  was  strictly  historical  :  he  thought,  to  be  sure, 
the  Bible  a  good  book,  and  that  its  lessons  of  morality  had  better  be  fol- 
low^ed  than  neglected.  Still  he  considered  it  the  work  of  priestcraft, 
and  of  men  who  had  sinister  motives  and  designs  in  view  in  urging 
its  extension. 

Hfe  thought,  that  on  selfish  grounds  alone,  a  man  had  better  be  a 
christian  than  an  infidel  ;  and  often  remarked,  that  if  permitted  to  live 

32  LIFE    OF    WALTON. 

his  life  over  again,  he  would  be  an  honest  man — merely  that  he  might 
be  happier  in  this  world. 

It  was  feared,  that  so  strongly  had  he  become  wedded  (o  his  infidel 
sentiments,  tiiat  he  would  leave  the  world  in  that  state  of  mind,  and 
go  to  his  last  account  wilh  all  his  sins  unrepenied  of,  and  unforgiven. 
Bud  as  had  been  his  conduct  in  life,  yet  there  was  a  something  about 
him  which  interested,  in  more  thati  a  usual  manner,  tbe  feelings  of 
the  Philanthrophist  and  tlie  Christian  in  his  behalf.  Their  efforts  to 
enligliten  his  mind  and  raise  him  to  higher  and  nobler  views  than  dark 
infidehty  could  afford,  were  untiring  ;  and  they  had  the  happiness  at 
last  to  find  tliem  not  unsuccessful. 

The  last  two  or  three  days  of  his  earthly  existence,  he  sufiered  great 
distress  of  mind  on  account  of  his  past  conduct  in  life,  and  also  on  ac- 
count of  the  infidel  sentiments  he  hatl  so  long  entertained  and  profes- 
sed. Besides  exhorting  those  of  his  fellow  convicts  who  were  in  at- 
tendance upon  him  to  lead  an  upriglit  and  virtuous  life  in  future,  he 
hastily  dictated  the  following  remarks,  which  he  requested  might  be 
communicated  to  the  convicts. 

"  Tell  them  to  repent  before  they  come  to  a  dying  bed — tell  them  to 
embrace  Jesus,  and  place  their  trust  and  confidence  in  him — tell  them 
of  the  distress  of  my  mind  in  consequence  of  nsy  past  conduct,  and  of 
the  infidel  sentiments  1  have  heretofore  entertained  ;  and  tell  them  too, 
that  it  is  not  through  the  fear  of  death  itself,  that  1  have  been  induced 
to  change  m}'^  mind,  but  that  it  is  the  fear  of  consequences  after  death 
— tell  them  I  put  my  trust  and  confidence  in  God, resting  en  the  merits 
of  the  Redeemer.  I  have  been  a  great  sinner.  O  God  have  mercy 
upon  me — blessed  Jesus  have  mercy  upon  me. 

"I  now  find  that  my  real  and  best  friends  are  those  whose  opinions  I 
have  heretofore  thought  but  little  of  or  despised.  Tiiey  only  can  afford 
me  consolation  in  my  present  condition."  He  closed  the  remarks  by  ex- 
claiming, "O  Godjforgive  me  for  all  the  injuries  I  have  done  to  my  fel- 
low men." 

On  the  morning  preceding  the  day  of  his  death,he  solemnly  declared 
that  he  took  no  part,  nor  had  he  any  concern  whatever  in  the  burning 
of  the  Stables  in  Dedham,  owned  by  the  Citizens'  Line  Stage  Compa- 
ny. He  wished  to  have  it  known  that  he  made  this  declaration  on  his 
dying  bed.  He  further  remarked,  that  from  conversations  he  had  with 
Wade,  previous  to  the  fire,  he  beheved  that  Wade,  was  the  incendiary, 
on  both  occasions  of  the  burning  of  the  stables  in  Dedham. 

Walton  also  declared  the  narrative  dictated  hy  him  to  the  Warden 
of  the  State  Prison,  to  be  a  true  and  correct  history  of  all  the  events  of 
his  life.of  any  importance. as  far  as  he  could  recollect  them.  Thus  closes 
the  history  of  a  man,  who  in  the  short  period  of  his  existence, was  more 
deep  and  bold  in  crime,  than  is  known  to  have  been  the  case  wilh  any 
young  man  of  equal  age,  in  this  part  of  our  country.  Born  in  obscurity, 
and  with  but  a  limited  education,  he  yet  possessed  a  mind, which  had  it 
been  properly  cultivated  and  disciplined,  would  undoubtedly  have  pla- 
ced him  in  a  higher  and  far  more  useful  sphere  than  that  which  was 
his  lot  to  fill  during  his  short  journey  through  this  world.